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Design of synthetic diffractive structures for 3D visualization applications and their fabrication by a novel parallel-write two-photon polymerization process

Abstract : Diffractive Optical Elements (DOEs) are now widely used in academic and industrial applications due to their ultrathin, compact characteristics and their highly flexible manipulation of light wave-fronts. Despite these excellent properties, the scope of DOE applications is often limited by the fact that most DOEs are designed to generate only 2D projected patterns, and even more importantly, for use only with monochromatic, coherent, often collimated, laser sources. The cost and eye safety constraints of laser sources severely restrict DOE visualisation applications such as security holograms, and the 2D nature of the generated patterns limits virtual or augmented reality applications. To overcome these restrictions, this thesis targets the design and fabrication of wavelength selective 3D diffractive structures which can produce a perceived multiple view-angle “floating” 3D object behind the DOE substrate when illuminated by readily available and cheap white LED sources. In an initial approach we develop and experimentally validate a series of novel design algorithms for conventional optically “thin” DOE structures under incoherent, divergent illumination; first to project 2D patterns, then to create virtual 2D images and finally virtual 3D patterns. In a second stage, we leverage the capacities of optically “thick”, Bragg-like structures to introduce spectral selectivity (towards colour output patterns) and improve diffraction. Since the thin element approximation is invalid when designing optically thick 3D photonic structures we develop a particle swarm optimization algorithm based on a rigorous diffraction model to design highly innovative optically thick synthetic diffractive structures. The cost-effective fabrication of such proposed fully 3Dmicro- and nano-photonics structures is highly challenging when using current traditional lithographic techniques which are generally limited, in practice, to the fabrication of 2D or 2.5D structures. To this end, an advanced prototype massively parallelized two-photon polymerization (2PP) photoplotter for the fabrication of large area fully 3D photonic structures is currently being developed by the IMT Atlantique Optics Department. We present our contributions to the design and development of the critical, high uniformity illumination modules for the new prototype 2PP photoplotter. The research and development in this thesis contributes to the broadening of DOE applications to fields which are currently inaccessible. The developed design methods can also find applications in holographic display fields such as automotive augmented reality.
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Submitted on : Monday, September 28, 2020 - 1:34:10 PM
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Qiang Song. Design of synthetic diffractive structures for 3D visualization applications and their fabrication by a novel parallel-write two-photon polymerization process. Optics / Photonic. Ecole nationale supérieure Mines-Télécom Atlantique, 2020. English. ⟨NNT : 2020IMTA0199⟩. ⟨tel-02945442⟩

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