We report on the optimization of staircase grating profiles for the case of absorbing grating materials. Using a simple numerical algorithm, we determined the grating parameters, maximizing the first-order diffraction efficiency for different numbers of staircase steps. The results show that there is a significant difference between the staircase profiles for nonnegligible and negligible absorption. The obtained solutions are of importance for diffractive optics in the soft-x-ray and extreme-ultraviolet ranges.
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