Use of steel substrates in diffractive optics: Near field of high surface quality steel tape gratings

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Elsevier Sci. Ltd.
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Steel tape is used in optical applications due to its mechanical properties. However, roughness of steel surfaces affects to wave propagation. The effect can be observed using diffraction gratings with low periods. In such a case, self-images of the grating appear at certain periodic distances from the grating (Talbot planes). When standard steel is used, the contrast of Talbot self-images strongly decreases with the distance from the grating. In this work, we prove that controlling the surface quality of steel, it is possible to improve its optical behavior and, as a consequence, high quality surface steel represents a good choice for diffractive optics when the use of chrome-on-glass masks is not indicated. As an example, we have manufactured a diffraction grating over a high quality steel surface by means of an ablation process with a nanosecond pulsed laser. The contrast of the self-images for these gratings decreases very slowly with the distance, in comparison with the self-images obtained with standard steel tape gratings.
© 2010 Elsevier Ltd. The authors are grateful to Tomá s Morlanes for his help. This work has been supported by the project DPI2008-02391 of the ‘‘Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación’’ of Spain.
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