Building on the optimal-rotation-angle method, an algorithm for the design of inter-element coherent arrays of diffractive optical elements (DOEs) was developed. The algorithm is intended for fan-out DOE arrays where the individual elements fan-out to a sub-set of points chosen from a common set of points. By iteratively optimizing the array of elements as a whole the proposed algorithm ensures that the light from neighbouring elements is in-phase in all fan-out points that are common to neighbouring DOEs. This is important in applications where a laser beam scans the DOE array and the fan-out intensities constitute a read-out of information since the in-phase condition ensures a smooth transition in the read-out as the beam moves from one DOE to the next. Simulations show that the inter-element in-phase condition can be imposed at virtually no expense in terms of optical performance, as compared to independently designed DOEs.
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