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In previous chapters we considered the fundamental theories of diffraction and a number of design approaches for diffractive optical elements. However, before a diffractive optical element can be built, a number of additional questions must be addressed. For example:
- How is the design in a computer "transformed" into a physical component?
- What material should the DOE be made from?
- How does the choice of material affect the fabrication process?
- Are there physical limitations on what can be made?
- How does the quality of the substrate affect the performance of the components?
- Are special pieces of equipment or special environments required for the fabrication process?
- How do you know what you have made?
These topics will be explored in detail in the next several chapters. In general, we will explore the manufacture and test of spatially varying phase profiles in or on an optical substrate. Although this phase profile can be achieved through a number of means, the most common realization of these profiles will be considered: Diffractive optical elements created as spatially varying surface relief profiles in or on an optical substrate.
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