MDL’s precision optical devices are at the heart of instruments that realize new capabilities across wavelengths from the ultraviolet to far-infrared.
Electron-beam lithography techniques are developed to fabricate unique optics that enable JPL instruments to perform novel measurements and achieve unmatched performance. In addition to reliable binary nanopatterning processes, we have developed techniques for fabricating precision analog (grayscale) surface relief profiles in polymers and substrate materials. This allows creation of nearly arbitrary transmissive and reflective diffractive optics such as blazed gratings, lenses, and computer-generated holograms, for wavelengths ranging from ultraviolet to long-wave infrared. Further, we have developed the capability to electron-beam fabricate these diffractive optics on nonflat (convex or concave) substrates with several millimeters of height variation. Our most important products are convex and concave diffraction gratings for Offner- and Dyson-type imaging spectrometers. These gratings have highly optimized blazed groove profiles that produce tailored spectral efficiency that equalizes the signal-to-noise ratio of the instrument over its operating wavelength range.