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Vectorial thin-element approximation: a semirigorous determination of Kirchhoff’s boundary conditions

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Abstract

A semirigorous model is presented that bridges the gap between classical scalar diffraction theory on the one hand and fully rigorous simulation models on the other. It falls back on the basic ideas of scalar diffraction theory, especially the Kirchhoff approximation. In contrast to classical techniques, however, the boundary values are determined by rigorous methods of the stratified medium theory in the scope of a fully vectorial formulation. By this means the proposed approach takes vertical rigorous coupling effects inside the grating into account while neglecting the lateral ones. We therefore call this method semirigorous and use the name vectorial thin-element approximation. A direct comparison with rigorous coupled-wave analysis as a fully rigorous simulation model allows a detailed discussion of its range of validity and demonstrates a reduction of computation time of the order of 3 magnitudes. In addition, it also reveals deeper insight into the details of the electrodynamics inside diffracting structures. Some examples will demonstrate this benefit.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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