Product Code: JLA_15_4_246

Keiji Fuse
Takayuki Hirai
Toshihiko Ushiro
Takeshi Okada
Kenichi Kurisu
Keiji Ebata
Itami R&D Laboratories, Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd., 1-1-3 Shimaya, Konohana-ku, Osaka 554-0024, Japan

A multilevel phase fan-out diffractive optical element (DOE) has been developed and introduced into various kinds of laser materials processing such as drilling, cutting, welding, and soldering. The larger the number of arrayed spots the DOE generates on the surface of the workpiece, the more sensitive the intensity uniformity of the spots becomes to fabrication errors, which are deviations between designed and fabricated surface microstructures. Errors in etch depth have, in particular, a significant effect on the intensity uniformity. A new design method has been developed for increasing the tolerance to the etch depth error, and applied to the design of a 16-level phase 7×7 fan-out element. The result indicates a uniformity less sensitive to etch depth error. The effect of a linewidth error due to the side etch introduced during a plasma etching process is also evaluated by computing high-resolution graphics data representing the phase of the DOE with the line width errors. Mask alignment errors, the slant of sidewalls, and other fabrication errors are discussed further. The diffraction efficiency and intensity uniformity are measured for fabricated DOE prototypes, and a comparison made between the calculated and measured properties shows good agreement. © 2003 Laser Institute of America.

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