Novel thermovision imaging systems having high efficiency require very sophisticated optical components. This paper describes the diffractive optical elements which are designed for the wavelengths between 8 and 14 μm for the application in the FLIR cameras. In the current paper the authors present phase only diffractive elements manufactured in the etched gallium arsenide. Due to the simplicity of the manufacturing process only binary phase elements were designed and manufactured. Such solution exhibits huge chromatic aberration. Moreover, the performance of such elements is rather poor, which is caused by two factors. The first one is the limited diffraction efficiency (c.a. 40%) of binary phase structures. The second problem lies in the Fresnel losses coming from the reflection from the two surfaces (around 50%). Performance of this structures is limited and the imaging contrast is poor. However, such structures can be used for relatively cheap practical testing of the new ideas. For example this solution is sufficient for point spread function (PSF) measurements. Different diffractive elements were compared. The first one was the equivalent of the lens designed on the basis of the paraxial approximation. For the second designing process, the non-paraxial approach was used. It was due to the fact that f/# was equal to 1. For the non-paraxial designing the focal spot is smaller and better focused. Moreover, binary phase structures suffer from huge chromatic aberrations. Finally, it is presented that non-paraxially designed optical element imaging with extended depth of focus (light-sword) can suppress chromatic aberration and therefore it creates the image not only in the image plane.
This work is dedicated to the evaluation of the chromatic properties of high order kinoforms. Typical kinoform (of the first order) is a phase only structure having the phase retardation varying in the range 0-2π. Such structures are very commonly used in many practical applications for different ranges of electromagnetic radiation like ultraviolet, visible, infrared, terahertz and millimeter waves. Besides those benefits such structures have one crucial disadvantage - they suffer from big chromatic aberration. This limits their practical application only to the narrowband work, where main wavelength must be well defined (Δλ/λ<<1). This paper presents other type of diffractive structures called high order kinoforms (HOK). They exhibit phase retardation of n2π, where n is an integer number much bigger than 1. Due to this fact they are relatively thin and therefore can be manufactured using laser lithography in thick photoresist (deeply etched). On the other hand they are thick enough to suppress chromatic aberrations. In comparison to the well-known Fresnel lens, the high order kinoform structure has precisely controlled phase retardation between different zones. In the case of the Fresnel lens (known from XVIII/XIX century), phase retardations between different zones are random (designing process is based on the geometrical optics). In the case of the high order kinoform working as the spherical lens - taking into account the real size of the detector - it can be shown that the most of the energy being focused in the focal spot will be registered by the detector for different wavelengths. The paper presents simple theoretical considerations, numerical modeling and their experimental evaluation.