We consider spatial shaping of broadband (either stationary or pulsed) spatially coherent light, comparing refractive, standard diffractive, and harmonic diffractive (modulo 2πM) elements. Considering frequency-integrated target profiles we show that, contrary to common belief, standard diffractive (M = 1) elements work reasonably well for, e.g., Gaussian femtosecond pulses and spatially coherent amplified-spontaneous-emission sources such as superluminescent diodes. It is also shown that harmonic elements with M ≥ 5 behave in essentially the same way as refractive elements and clearly outperform standard diffractive elements for highly broadband light.
© 2014 Optical Society of America
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