The multilayer coupled wave theory is extended to systematically investigate the diffraction properties of multilayer volume holographic gratings (MVHGs) under ultrashort laser pulse readout. Solutions for the diffracted and transmitted intensities, diffraction efficiency, and the grating bandwidth are obtained in transmission MVHGs. It is shown that the diffraction characteristics depend not only on the input pulse duration but also on the number and thickness of grating layers and the gaps between holographic layers. This analysis can be implemented as a useful tool to aid with the design of multilayer volume grating-based devices employed in optical communications, pulse shaping, and processing.
© 2008 Optical Society of America
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