Fabrication of diffractive optics with binary masks requires multiple photolithographic processes to produce high-efficiency elements. Alignment or etching errors at any stage of fabrication decrease the efficiency of the element. We developed an easily accessible procedure that reduces fabrication complexity and costs by using a single gray-scale mask. The gray-scale patterns are generated by commercial slide imagers and are then photoreduced onto low-contrast film plates. Multiple-level or continuous relief structures (kinoforms) may be constructed by use of the photoreduced gray-scale patterns as lithographic masks. Diffractive-optic lenses and blazed gratings were fabricated in photoresist with this procedure. First-order diffraction efficiencies as high as 85% were measured for the blazed gratings. The advantages and the limitations of this technique are discussed.
© 1995 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: April 21, 1995
Revised Manuscript: June 27, 1995
Published: November 10, 1995
Thomas J. Suleski and Donald C. O’Shea, "Gray-scale masks for diffractive-optics fabrication: I. Commercial slide imagers," Appl. Opt. 34, 7507-7517 (1995)