We fabricate photonic crystals for the visible range by the 'autocloning' technique, in which multilayers are stacked by an appropriate combination of sputter deposition and sputter etching. TiO2/SiO2 and Ta2O5/SiO2 are chosen as materials since they are transparent in the range and give a high contrast of refractive indices. The fabrication technique has flexibility regarding materials and size and is very reliable and reproducible even if the pitch is less than 0.2 μm. We also study the application of photonic crystals to birefringent elements such as waveplates and polarization selective gratings and experimentally verify that they are useful for optical pick-up systems.
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