We demonstrate a broadband, thin-film, polarizing beam splitter based on an anisotropic diffraction grating composed of reactive mesogens (polymerizable liquid crystals). This achromatic polarization grating (PG) manifests high diffraction efficiency (~100%) and high extinction ratio (⩾1000:1) in both theory and experiment. We show an operational bandwidth Δλ/λ0~56% (roughly spanning visible wavelength range) that represents more than a fourfold increase of bandwidth over conventional PGs (and significantly larger than any other grating). The diffraction angle and operational region (visible, near-infrared, midwave infrared, and ultraviolet wavelengths) may be easily tailored during fabrication. The essence of the achromatic design is a stack of two chiral PGs with an opposite twist sense and employs the principle of retardation compensation. We fully characterize its optical properties and derive the theoretical diffraction behavior.
© 2008 Optical Society of AmericaPDF Article