Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

The Advanced Optical Components and Technologies program develops, creates and provides critical optical components for laser-based missions at LLNL. Past projects focused on kinoform phase plates for LLNL’s Nova laser and on large-area, submicron-pitch holographic diffraction gratings for LLNL’s Petawatt (1015 watt) ultrashort-pulse laser.

Today, the optical team designs and fabricates a variety of custom diffractive optics for researchers worldwide. Included are multilayer dielectric and gold-overcoated master diffraction gratings for pulse compression (up to 1 meter in diameter); ion-beam-etched transmission gratings; wet-etched gratings; multilevel-etched Fresnel lenses and phase plates (up to meter-scale); segmented Fresnel lenses (multiple-meter scale); continuous-contour optics such as phase plates fabricated by wet-etch figuring; replicated polymeric freestanding and attached diffractive films (at 50-centimeters scale); and many other specialty optics.

Multilayer Dielectric Diffraction Gratings
Multilayer dielectric diffraction gratings up to 1 meter in diameter are manufactured entirely at LLNL and optimized for a diffraction efficiency of greater than 90 percent.

Traditionally, LLNL has had world-leading efforts in fabrication of large-area laser and non-linear optical crystals. Recently, LLNL has also developed an ability to produce device-scale, laser-quality transparent ceramic optics with an emphasis on designer laser materials and components that will enable new, compact and efficient laser architectures for energy and defense applications.

These efforts have been essential to expanding LLNL’s international leadership of average-power, high-peak-power and high-photon-energy systems and applications.

Diffractive Membrane Optic
The first diffractive membrane optic, designed for a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) project, was completed on July 25, 2011. The 80-centimeter-diameter, 18-micron-thick optic with 4-micron-wide critical dimensions was printed and etched using LLNL’s diffractive optic manufacturing capabilities.

More Information

“Developing Lightweight Optics for Space,” Science & Technology Review, January/February 2013