We experimentally characterize the properties of an element that generates a doughnutlike point-spread function by converting the linearly polarized incident field to radially or azimuthally polarized light utilizing space-variant inhomogeneous medium (SVIM) form-birefringent subwavelength structures. To fabricate the high-aspect-ratio SVIM structures, we developed a chemically assisted ion-beam-etching process that permits control of the fabricated form-birefringent structure profile to optimize the effect of birefringence and the impedance mismatch on the substrate-air interface. Fabricated elements perform efficient polarization conversion for incident angles as large as 30°, where the extinction ratio is found to be better than 4.5. The intensity distribution in the far field shows that our SVIM device generates a doughnut point-spread function that may prove useful for various applications.
© 2006 Optical Society of AmericaPDF Article