It is well-known that the chirped pulse amplification (CPA) technique won the award for the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics to Mourou and Strickland. The compression and stretching using gratings is the essence of the CPA technique for amplifying femtosecond laser pulses. It seems the public is less aware that there are also other structures for compression and stretching of femtosecond laser pulses using other diffractive gratings, such as doubled-density gratings and deep-etched gratings. Therefore, from the view of diffractive optics, the CPA technique is reviewed with different approaches and experimental implementations that are not only useful for a more comprehensive retrospective overview of CPA, but also for the prospective of the CPA technique, which might lead us to new areas of picometer and femtometer optics in the future.
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