Abstract

The most accurate approaches to fabrication of diffraction gratings are known to be the lithographic and holographic methods. The lithographic methods allow fabrication of arbitrarily chirped gratings whose performance, however, is degraded by stitching errors. The holographic methods are free from stitching errors; however, they are limited in the achievable spatial variations of their grating periods. We suggest a method of diffraction grating modification by nonuniform heating and stretching that is much more flexible than the holographic approach and does not suffer from the problem of stitching error. We demonstrate our approach for quartz phase masks that have a characteristic grating period of 1 µm and a length of several centimeters. Our approach allows the grating periods of the phase masks to vary in a range from a few picometers to a few nanometers and a spatial resolution of a few millimeters. It is shown that the grating period can be modified with a negligible effect on the profile of the gratings.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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