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What are the advantages/disadvantages of a transmission vs a reflection grating? It seems like a transmission grating would be easiest to use. I'm trying to get a spectrum from Thomson scattered light in a plasma. The broader the spectrum of the scattered light, the hotter the plasma. It's a weak effect, so it's important to keep as much light as possible. It would also be important that the image of light is not distorted (at least not along a chosen axis... obviously one direction will have the light spread).

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  • $\begingroup$ I think no-one's answered this yet because it really depends on what you're trying to do with it. Can you make your question more specific? $\endgroup$ – ptomato Jul 13 '13 at 4:38
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Transmission gratings are less sensitive to polarization and alignment, but cannot transmit at higher wavelengths (ie typically ~2000nm).

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Transmission gratings are less effective if they consist of absorptive grooves. Thus, transmission gratings make sense to around $1000$ lines/mm. There are also holographical transmission gratings, where the spatial variation is not seen in amplitude but in phase. Those gratings show - of course - a different behavior in its spectrum, but have higher light throughput/efficiency.

Reflective gratings, on the other hand, reflect all light and modulate only the "not-wanted" light. Thus they have better efficiency and - as said already - maintain the polarization in a better way.

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