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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Using a Mach-Zehnder interferometer to measure the phase retardations of wave plates
Author(s): Fang-Wen Sheu; Shu-Yen Liu

Paper Abstract

A wave plate is a commonly used optical element in optical experiments. In this report, we have achieved measuring the phase retardations of a half-wave plate and a quarter-wave plate using a Mach-Zehnder interferometer. Besides, when we rotate the half-wave plate’s c-axis form the vertical to the horizontal directions, or vice versa, the phase retardations of the two orthogonally polarized beams are observed to be exchanged between 180° and -180°. In addition, we also predict the expected results by the Jones calculus theory in order to check the experimental results. This system can be applied to explore intuitively the birefringence characteristics of anisotropic materials in an optics teaching laboratory.

Paper Details

Date Published: 3 June 2007
PDF: 5 pages
Proc. SPIE 9665, Tenth International Topical Meeting on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics, 96650U (3 June 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.2207335
Show Author Affiliations
Fang-Wen Sheu, National Chiayi Univ. (Taiwan)
Shu-Yen Liu, National Chiayi Univ. (Taiwan)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9665:
Tenth International Topical Meeting on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics
Marc Nantel, Editor(s)

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