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When optical engineers talk about controlling light through diffraction, a number of terms are used: binary optics, kinoforms, computer-generated holograms, holographic optical elements, and plain old diffraction gratings. To begin this description of diffractive elements and their applications, we need to sort out the differences between these terms and settle on what we will call them in this text. For the purposes of this discussion, the optical components that are the subject of this text will be called diffractive optical elements (DOEs). Also, it would be useful to know how these terms relate to one another. One way of organizing all of them is shown in a diagram in Fig. 1.1. Overall, these concepts can be arranged within the field of diffractive optics.
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