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Optical Engineering

Linear birefringence measurement instrument using two photoelastic modulators
Author(s): Baoliang Bob Wang
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Paper Abstract

We describe an instrument for measuring linear retardance in transparent optical components using two photoelastic modulators. The instrument contains a He-Ne laser (632.8 nm), a polarizer, two low- birefringence photoelastic modulators at different frequencies, an analyzer, and a silicon photodiode detector. A sample is placed between the two modulators. The detector signals corresponding to linear retardance in a sample are analyzed using lock-in amplifiers. A computer program calculates and displays both the retardation magnitude and the angle of the fast axis. The reported instrument is essentially a polarimeter specifically designed for measuring low-level linear retardance in high-quality optical components. It provides a retardation sensitivity of better than 0.005 nm (0.003 deg or 5 x 10-5 rad with a He-Ne laser at 632.8 nm).

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 May 2002
PDF: 7 pages
Opt. Eng. 41(5) doi: 10.1117/1.1467667
Published in: Optical Engineering Volume 41, Issue 5
Show Author Affiliations
Baoliang Bob Wang, Hinds Instruments, Inc. (United States)


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