Abstract

Scalar diffraction theory is frequently considered inadequate for predicting diffraction efficiencies for grating applications where λd>0.1. It has also been stated that scalar theory imposes energy upon the evanescent diffracted orders. These notions, as well as several other common misconceptions, are driven more by an unnecessary paraxial approximation in the traditional Fourier treatment of scalar diffraction theory than by the scalar limitation. By scaling the spatial variables by the wavelength, we have previously shown that diffracted radiance is shift invariant in direction cosine space. Thus simple Fourier techniques can now be used to predict a variety of wide-angle (nonparaxial) diffraction grating effects. These include (1) the redistribution of energy from the evanescent orders to the propagating ones, (2) the angular broadening (and apparent shifting) of wide-angle diffracted orders, and (3) nonparaxial diffraction efficiencies predicted with an accuracy usually thought to require rigorous electromagnetic theory.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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