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We show that the propagation of optical beams inside three-dimensional photonic crystals can be efficiently described by an approximate scalar diffraction model. The main advantage of this model is that it reduces the memory and computation time for direct simulations of three-dimensional photonic crystals by converting the problem into an equivalent problem for which simple geometrical optics can be applied. Then we use this model for efficient design of photonic crystal dispersive devices such as demultiplexers and microspectrometers. Finally, experimental verification of the results for the polymer woodpile structures will be given.
Date of Conference: 4-9 May 2008