Sinusoidal phase grating created by a tunably buckled surface

Harrison, Christopher; Stafford, Christopher M.; Wenhua Zhang; Karim, Alamgir
November 2004
Applied Physics Letters;11/1/2004, Vol. 85 Issue 18, p4016
Academic Journal
We investigate a buckling instability by both small angle light scattering and atomic force microscopy, demonstrating that a tunable phase grating can be created with a mechanical instability. The instability is realized in a prestressed silicone sheet coated with a glassy polymer film. Compression of the sample results in a sinusoidally wrinkled surface where the amplitude is controlled by the degree of compression and the wavelength by film thickness. We model the system with Fourier optics, explaining the positions and relative intensities of the diffraction orders.


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