Diffractive Optical Elements

NIL Technology is specialized in diffractive optical elements (DOEs). We make diffractive optics that are customized to your specific needs. This enables you to efficiently shape light and consequently improve the overall performance and flexibility of your products.

Our selection of diffractive optics includes blazed, slanted, 1D and 2D gratings, fan-out diffractive beam splitters, and diffractive diffusers. 

Read the press release on DOEs from July 2022: 

Read the press release on DOE fan-outs from November 2021: 

4 level DOE used for a diffractive diffuser

Diffractive optics by NIL Technology

NIL Technology offers you DOEs that are customized to your specific needs. We have made diffractive optics for many years and have extensive experience in complex and high-precision DOEs.

We can offer rapid turnaround times for our customers, having design, testing, and manufacturing facilities within NILT. Through high accuracy in manufacturing, we are able to reach high-performance optics. Some of the benefits of our DOEs include:

  • High definition/pattern fidelity
  • High aspect ratios
  • Steep sidewalls
  • Multi-levels
  • High resolution
  • Low roughness

Press releases on DOE

Single surface DOE fan-out with integrated collimation

First demonstration of advanced single surface DOE fan-out that eliminates the need for separate collimator optics. 

Read more about the demonstration in the press release from July 2022. 

Image: a microscope image of the DOE

single surface DOE fan-out
Proven dot pattern of 940 nm VCSEL array project through a Diffractive optical element (DOE) collimator and 3 x 3 fan-out DOE.

Flat, multifunctional optics platform for 3D sensing and LiDAR applications

NILT has developed a highly advanced flat optics technology platform for near-infrared (NIR) used in 3D sensing and LiDAR. 

NILT is able to mass-produce a DOE platform that is both flat, thin, and multifunctional. The platform provides better optical performance than any existing solutions on the market. Read the press release from July 2021 right here.  

Image: a proven dot pattern of 940 nm VCSEL array project through a DOE collimator and 3 x 3 fan-out DOE.

DOEs with record-high efficiency

NILT can design, build, and characterize multiple DOE fan-outs with 94% absolute efficiency.

In November 2021, NILT could share the ground-breaking result of designing and manufacturing a high uniformity NIR DOE fan-out with 94% absolute* field of illumination (FOI) efficiency. The result demonstrates the exceptional efficiency of diffractive optics and proves that diffractive optics from NILT outperform existing solutions. Read the press release from November 2021 to learn more.  

DOE fan-out

Enhanced performance with diffractive optics

With NILT, you can expect improved diffraction efficiency and better stray light suppression, among other key benefits. Contact us to get an overall understanding of how it will affect your optical applications and product performance by working with NIL Technology.

We can be your partner throughout the whole product journey, from idea to design and production.

Precise We have high-quality production methods and years of experience with high-precision diffraction structures
Adaptable Easily replace or combine refractive optics with diffractive optics
Energy-efficient Shape and divide laser beams to control intensity
Custom-made Customized to your specific needs and specifications
Effective Be able to precisely control the phase across the aperture and make complex intensity

Masters for DOEs

We make masters for DOEs in silicon and fused silica. We have no fundamental limits to how deep and how many levels we can make.

Masters are used directly in the replication process or to generate sub-masters. In some cases, generations of sub-masters for volume manufacturing by wafer-level replication.

From a DOE master, we can also make nickel shims for use e.g. in an injection molding-based volume manufacturing setup.

Diffractive optical elements and applications

Diffractive optics has the advantage of enhancing the value of laser systems. The technology has many functions and is useful for many types of applications. 

For example, you can find diffractive optics in long-range distance sensors like LiDAR / LADAR (Light Detection And Ranging), short-range distance sensors, position sensors, motion detection, and projection systems.

Beam shaping, beam splitting, diffusers, pattern projections, diffractive focusing lenses, and gratings are just some of the diffractive optics that we are working with. However, it is not just laser systems that benefit from DOEs. Systems based on other light sources can also benefit from diffractive optics even though it is broadband light sources.

You can read more about optical applications here

Diffractive Optical Elements (DOE)

A cross-section of replication in polymer (device) with steep side walls, sharp corners and low roughness. The image is duplicated to cover the page. 

Diffractive optical elements (DOEs) are optical components made of structures with dimensions comparable to the wavelength in complex arrangements. Based on the types of application, DOEs are capable of manipulating an incident light’s phase and amplitude with the purpose of creating a desired output pattern with a unique functionality.

Diffractive optics with a given function follows the same principles as a diffractive grating with a repetitive pattern of two or more levels, formed on the surface of a substrate – typically etched into the surface of a hard substrate or replicated in a polymer on the surface of a substrate or made purely in polymer. The depth of the pattern is in the order of the wavelength of the light, specific to the application, adjusted to the refractive index of the material of the DOE.

Nowadays, with the aid of high accuracy advanced micro and nanolithography fabrication techniques, diffractive optics can be engineered with feature sizes ranging from a few hundred nanometers.

Introducing DOEs into classical optical systems can make them smaller and lighter since the diffractive optics are much thinner and lighter optical components compared to their bulky refractive counterparts.

Replacing refractive optical systems with systems based on DOEs, can both add functionality while maintaining high efficiency, drive down the cost and shrink the module size which are all crucial factors for integrated optics.

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