This work presents the use of longitudinal refractive index modulation (apodization) in photosensitive glass for improved sidelobe suppression in volume holographic optical elements. We develop a numerical model for both uniform and apodized volume holograms based on rigorous coupled-wave analysis. We validate the model by comparison with a transmissive 1.55-µm uniform volume grating in photothermorefractive glass. We then apply our numerical model to calculate the spectral response of apodized gratings. The numerical results demonstrate that apodization of the refractive index modulation envelope improves spectral selectivity and reduces first and second-order side-lobe peaks by up to 33 and 65 dB, respectively. We suggest a method for creating apodization in volume holograms with approximately Gaussian spatial refractive index profile.
© 2004 Optical Society of America
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