Some of the theoretical models in the literature describing the mechanism of hologram formation in photopolymer materials predict the existence of higher harmonics in the Fourier expansion of the recorded refractive index. Nevertheless, quantitative information is only obtained for the first harmonic of the refractive index using Kogelnik’s Coupled Wave Theory. In this work we apply the Rigorous Coupled Wave Theory to demonstrate that when recording phase diffraction gratings in PVA/acrylamide photopolymer materials, a second order grating is also recorded in the hologram even when the material is exposed to a sinusoidal interference pattern. The influence of this second order grating on the efficiency of the first order for replay at the first on-Bragg angular replay condition is studied and the size of the 2nd harmonic examined.
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