Doppler shift generated by a moving diffraction grating under incidence by polychromatic diffuse light

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Journal Article
Applied Optics, 2016, 55 (15), pp. 3915 - 3924
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© 2016 Optical Society of America. We consider the spectral response of moving diffraction gratings, in which the incident light extends over a broad angular range and where the diffracted light is observed from a specific angle. We show that the dispersion relation between the frequency perceived by an observer who is looking at a moving grating and the incident frequency can exhibit some unique features, such as a flat band (i.e., a local minimum). An observer can see the light diffracted into a nonspecular diffraction order from a multitude of incident light rays, and the angle of incidence of each ray is frequency dependent; as a consequence, when the grating is moving, each incident ray experiences a Doppler shift in frequency that depends on its angle of incidence. We find that remarkable features appear near a Wood anomaly where the angle of incidence, for a given diffraction angle, can change very quickly with frequency. This means that light of multiple frequencies and incident from multiple angles can be mixed by the motion of the grating into the same diffracted ray and their frequencies can be compressed into a narrower range. The existence of a flat band means that a moving grating can be used as a device to increase the intensity of the perceived diffracted light due to spectral compression. The properties of a grating in motion in sunlight can also be relevant to the study of naturally occurring gratings which are typically in oscillatory motion.
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