In this paper, we study the diffraction efficiency from the volume gratings in holographic materials, PQJ PMMA, and their efficiency-enhancement in an optically dark environment (dark enhancement). We show that the diffraction efficiency is increased in real-time by light-exposure and then by a slow diffusion process in the dark after light-exposure. We observe strong correlations between the efficiency, the light-exposure energy and the dark-enhancement. Furthermore, we establish an optimum condition for light-exposure and dark-enhancement. Accordingly, we simultaneously achieve the best diffraction-efficiency of 82% for a 2 mm thick PQ/PMMA and an efficiency-enhancement of 3.1 times after exposure, approaching the theoretical limit of 4 times. Published by Elsevier B.V.
- Holographic optical elements; Volume gratings; Polymers