In recent years the interest in thick holographic recording materials for storage applications has increased. In particular, photopolymers are interesting materials for obtaining inexpensive thick dry layers with low noise and high diffraction efficiencies. Nonetheless, as will be demonstrated in this work, the attenuation in depth of light during the recording limits dramatically the effective optical thickness of the material. This effect must be taken into account whenever thick diffraction gratings are recorded in photopolymer materials. In this work the differences between optical and physical thickness are analyzed, applying a method based on the Rigorous Coupled Wave Theory and taking into account the attenuation in depth of the refractive index profile. By doing this the maximum optical thickness that can be achieved can be calculated. When the effective thickness is known, then the real storage capacity of the material can be obtained.
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