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Bragg Gratings

Definition: reflecting structures with a periodic refractive index modulation

More specific terms: fiber Bragg gratings, volume Bragg gratings, holographic bulk gratings

German: Bragg-Gitter

Category: general optics

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An optical Bragg grating is a transparent device with a periodic variation of the refractive index, so that a large reflectance (reflectivity) may be reached in some wavelength range (bandwidth) around a certain wavelength which fulfills the Bragg condition

Bragg condition for grating reflection

where λ is the vacuum wavelength of light, n the average refractive index of the medium, θ the propagation angle in the medium relative to the direction normal to the grating, and Λ the grating period. If this condition is met, the wavenumber of the grating matches the difference of the wavenumbers of the incident and reflected waves.

volume Bragg grating
Figure 1: A volume Bragg grating within a glass block reflects an incident beam, if the Bragg condition is met (left-hand side). For a different angle of incidence, hardly any reflection occurs.

Other wavelengths are only weakly affected by the Bragg grating, except for some side lobes in the reflection spectrum. Similarly, the reflection can nearly totally disappear when the angle of incidence is modified (see Figure 1).

Calculator for the Bragg Condition

Refractive index:
Grating period: calc(from angle)
Angle: calc(from period)

Enter input values with units, where appropriate. After you have modified some values, click a "calc" button to recalculate the field left of it.

Around the Bragg wavelength, even a weak index modulation can be sufficient for achieving nearly total reflection, if the grating is sufficiently long. Due to the wavelength dependence of reflection and transmission, a Bragg grating can serve as an optical filter.

Examples of Optical Bragg Gratings


The RP Photonics Buyer's Guide contains 28 suppliers for Bragg gratings. Among them:

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See also: Bragg mirrors, volume Bragg gratings, fiber Bragg gratings, optical filters
and other articles in the category general optics


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