Volume holographic gratings and ion-etched dielectric diffraction gratings have been designed with the goal of improving the efficiency and damage threshold when used in CPA laser compression scheme. Two damage threshold measurement techniques have been implemented, including one method based on the statistical distribution of damage fluences. We first tested samples with submillimeter laser spots in the subpicosecond regime. We could demonstrate large sample gratings in a complete CPA configuration with over 96% efficiency per pass and a damage threshold twice the one observed on gold coated gratings.© (2001) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.