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24 September 2015 Enhancement of RIE: etched Diffractive Optical Elements surfaces by using Ion Beam Etching
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Shaping of laser light intensities by using Diffractive Optical Elements allows the adaption of the incident light to its application. Fused silica is used where for example UV-light or high temperatures are mandatory. For high diffraction efficiency the quality of the etched surface areas is important. The investigation of different process parameters for Ion Beam and Reactive Ion Etching reveals that only Ion Beam Etching provides surfaces with optical quality. Measurements of the influence of the surface quality on the diffraction efficiencies prove that the surfaces generated by Reactive Ion Etching are not suitable.

Due to the high selectivity of the process Reactive Ion Etching is nevertheless a reasonable choice for the fabrication of Diffractive Optical Elements. To improve the quality of the etched surfaces a post processing with Ion Beam Etching is developed. Simulations in MATLAB display that the angle dependent removal of the surface during the Ion Beam Etching causes a smoothing of the surface roughness. The positive influence of a post processing on the diffraction efficiency is outlined by measurements.

The ion beam post processing leads to an increase of the etching depth. For the fabrication of high efficient Diffractive Optical Elements this has to be taken into account. The relation is investigated and transferred to the fabrication of four-level gratings. Diffraction efficiencies up to 78 % instead of the ideal 81 % underline the practicability of the developed post processing.
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J. Schmitt, Ch. Bischoff, U. Rädel, M. Grau, U. Wallrabe, and F. Völklein "Enhancement of RIE: etched Diffractive Optical Elements surfaces by using Ion Beam Etching", Proc. SPIE 9628, Optical Systems Design 2015: Optical Fabrication, Testing, and Metrology V, 96281P (24 September 2015);

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