An important issue in developing applications for photopolymers in holography is the effect of film thickness on recording properties. Now it is possible to create these samples with a much wider range of thickness (d = 20–1400 µm) than was previously available. We exploit these recent advances in photopolymer processing to systematically evaluate how the dynamic range of a photopolymer depends on its thickness. The results illustrate that sample performance increases linearly with thickness as predicted by standard models of volume holography. However, above a critical thickness sample performance degrades, and the angular response of recorded plane-wave holograms shows evidence of grating curvature. These distortions are likely the result of photopolymer shrinkage, which in thicker samples occurs in a nonuniform fashion. This problem limits the performance of these photopolymers and is likely to be an issue for any photopolymer that undergoes comparable polymerization shrinkage.
© 2000 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: September 7, 1999
Revised Manuscript: January 21, 2000
Published: May 10, 2000
Joel E. Boyd, Timothy J. Trentler, Rajeev K. Wahi, Yadira I. Vega-Cantu, and Vicki L. Colvin, "Effect of film thickness on the performance of photopolymers as holographic recording materials," Appl. Opt. 39, 2353-2358 (2000)