Abstract

We report on measurements of the diffraction efficiency of 200-nm-period freestanding blazed transmission gratings for wavelengths in the 0.96 to 19.4nm range. These critical-angle transmission (CAT) gratings achieve highly efficient blazing over a broad band via total external reflection off the sidewalls of smooth, tens of nanometer thin ultrahigh aspect-ratio silicon grating bars and thus combine the advantages of blazed x-ray reflection gratings with those of more conventional x-ray transmission gratings. Prototype gratings with maximum depths of 3.2 and 6μm were investigated at two different blaze angles. In these initial CAT gratings the grating bars are monolithically connected to a cross support mesh that only leaves less than half of the grating area unobstructed. Because of our initial fabrication approach, the support mesh bars feature a strongly trapezoidal cross section that leads to varying CAT grating depths and partial absorption of diffracted orders. While theory predicts broadband absolute diffraction efficiencies as high as 60% for ideal CAT gratings without a support mesh, experimental results show efficiencies in the range of 50100% of theoretical predictions when taking the effects of the support mesh into account. Future minimization of the support mesh therefore promises broadband CAT grating absolute diffraction efficiencies of 50% or higher.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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