Abstract

By combining a binary phase grating and materials with a controllable absorption, it is shown theoretically that it is possible to modulate the light in a zero-order diffraction beam and that a high contrast level for the beam modulation can be obtained. The intensity of higher diffraction orders also changes, but it is calculated that high contrasts cannot be achieved for these higher-order beams with the active gratings that we examine. This specific modulator design that we use can be applied both for transmitted and for reflected light. Using the same ideas, one may build a beam-deflection device by varying the period of the grating by selectively changing the absorption levels in the grating. The deflection efficiency of the device can be improved compared with other designs by use of a grating with a reduced intensity of the nondeflected zero-order beam.

© 1994 Optical Society of America

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