We analyze the effect of spurious diffraction orders when generating functional multifoci patterns produced by illuminating a phase-only hologram with a single Gaussian beam. Using a practical device for encoding a hologram generates an undesirable zero order and high-diffraction orders at the Fourier plane. This translates to the fact that a significant fraction of the incident light does not necessarily convert to functional multifoci patterns. In most applications, the zero order can be avoided by generating foci patterns shifted off the optical axis, which further increases the amount of light distributed to spurious high-diffraction orders owing to the reduction of light directed to the desired foci pattern. We analyze the amount of light dispersed to spurious orders and show that these unwanted orders can be a major limiting factor for most applications based on arbitrary multifoci patterns.
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