An advanced design for a phase plate enables the distribution of spots in arbitrarily shaped patterns with very high uniformity and with a continuously or near-continuously varying phase pattern. A continuous phase pattern eliminates large phase jumps typically expected in a grating that provides arbitrary shapes. Large phase jumps increase scattered light outside of the desired pattern, reduce efficiency and can make the grating difficult to manufacture. When manufacturing capabilities preclude producing a fully continuous grating, the present design can be easily adapted to minimize manufacturing errors and maintain high efficiencies. This continuous grating is significantly more efficient than previously described Dammann gratings, offers much more flexibility in generating spot patterns and is easier to manufacture and replicate than a multi-level phase grating.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.