Four types of backward iterative quantization (BIQ) methods were proposed to design multilevel diffractive optical elements (DOEs). In these methods, the phase values first quantized in the early quantization steps are those distant from the quantization levels, instead of the neighboring ones that the conventional iterative method began with. Compared with the conventional forward iterative quantization (FIQ), the Type 4 BIQ achieved higher efficiencies and signal-to-noise ratios for 4-level unequal-phase DOEs. For equal-phase DOEs, the Type 4 BIQ performed better when the range increment of each quantization step was large (>15°), while the FIQ performed better when the range increment was small (<15°).
©2005 Optical Society of America
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