In this paper, we show that a multilayer freestanding slot array can be designed to give an insertion loss which is significantly lower than the value obtainable from a conventional dielectric backed printed frequency selective surface (FSS). This increase in filter efficiency is highlighted by comparing the performance of two structures designed to provide frequency selective beamsplitting in the quasioptical feed train of a submillimeter wave space borne radiometer. A two layer substrateless FSS providing more than 20 dB of isolation between the bands 316.5â??325.5 GHz and 349.5â??358.5 GHz, gives an insertion loss of 0.6 dB when the filter is orientated at 45 incidence in the TM plane, whereas the loss exhibited by a conventional printed FSS is in excess of 2 dB. A similar frequency response can be obtained in the TE plane, but here a triple screen structure is required and the conductor loss is shown to be comparable to the absorption loss of a dielectric backed FSS. Experimental devices have been fabricated using a precision micromachining technique. Transmission measurements performed in the range 250â??360 GHz are in good agreement with the simulated spectral performance of the individual periodic screens and the two multilayer freestanding FSS structures.