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This paper presents measured and modelled optical absorptance and reflectance for deep-groove nickel nano-gratings in the 450-950 nm wavelength range. The structures have been fabricated using focused ion beam etching and characterised using Fourier spectroscopy and the field distributions on the gratings have been studied using finite difference time domain modelling. Realistic grating structures have been modelled based on focused ion beam cross sections and these results are in good agreement between measured and modelled results. The roles of surface plasmon polaritons and slot modes are highlighted in the strong broadband absorbance that can be achieved with these structures.