A rigorous modal theory for the diffraction of Gaussian beams from N equally spaced slits (finite grating) in a planar perfectly conducting thin screen is presented. The case of normal incidence and TE polarization state is considered; i.e., the electric field is parallel to the slits. The characteristics of the far-field diffraction patterns, the transmission coefficient, and the normally diffracted energy as a function of several optogeometrical parameters are analyzed within the so-called vectorial region, where the polarization effects are important. The diffraction pattern of an aperiodic grating is also considered. In addition, one diffraction property known to be valid in the scalar region is generalized to the vectorial region: the existence of constant-intensity angles in the far field when the incident beam wave is scanned along the N slits. The classical grating equation is tested for incident Gaussian beams under several conditions.
© 2003 Optical Society of America
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