First-order perturbation theory is used to describe diffractive optical elements. This method provides an extension of Kirchhoff’s thin element approximation. In particular, the perturbation approximation considers propagation effects due to a finite depth of diffractive structures. The perturbation method is explicitly applied to various problems in diffractive optics, mostly related to the analysis of surface-relief structures. As part of this investigation this approach is compared with alternative extensions of the thin element model. This comparison illustrates that perturbation theory allows a consistent unified treatment of many diffraction phenomena, preserving the simplicity of Fourier optics.
© 1999 Optical Society of America
(050.1960) Diffraction and gratings : Diffraction theory
(050.1970) Diffraction and gratings : Diffractive optics
(070.2580) Fourier optics and signal processing : Paraxial wave optics
(260.1960) Physical optics : Diffraction theory
Markus Testorf, "Perturbation theory as a unified approach to describe diffractive optical elements," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 16, 1115-1123 (1999)