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Proceedings Paper

Polarimetry using liquid crystal variable retarders
Author(s): Thomas F. Drouillard; Paul A. Searcy; Scott R. Davis; Radoslaw J. Uberna; Richard A. Herke; Michael H. Anderson; Scott D. Rommel; Eric B. Anthony; Valeria B. Damiao
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Paper Abstract

A new technology for performing high-precision Stokes polarimetry is presented. One traditional Stokes polarimetry configuration relies on mechanical devices such as rapidly rotating waveplates that are undesirable in vibration-sensitive optics experiments. Another traditional technique requires division of a light signal into four components that are measured individually; this technique is limited to applications in which signal levels are sufficient that intensity reduction does not diminish the signal-to-noise ratio. A new technology presented here is similar to the rotating waveplate approach, but two liquid crystal variable retarders (LCVR’s) are used instead of waveplates. A Stokes polarimeter instrument based on this technology has been made commercially-available. The theory of operation is detailed, and an accuracy assessment was conducted. Measurement reproducibility was verified and used to produce empirical estimates of uncertainty in measured components of a Stokes vector. Uncertainty propagation was applied to polarization parameters calculated from Stokes vector components to further the accuracy assessment. A calibrated polarimeter measures four Stokes components with 10-3 precision and average predicted uncertainties less than ±2x10-3. An experiment was conducted in which the linear polarization angles were measured with a LC polarimeter and with a photodiode for comparison. Observed discrepancies between polarization angle measurements made with a polarimeter and those made with a photodetector were nominally within ±0.3°.

Paper Details

Date Published: 25 June 2004
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 5363, Emerging Optoelectronic Applications, (25 June 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.524604
Show Author Affiliations
Thomas F. Drouillard, Meadowlark Optics, Inc. (United States)
Paul A. Searcy, Meadowlark Optics, Inc. (United States)
Scott R. Davis, Meadowlark Optics, Inc. (United States)
Radoslaw J. Uberna, Meadowlark Optics, Inc. (United States)
Richard A. Herke, Meadowlark Optics, Inc. (United States)
Michael H. Anderson, Meadowlark Optics, Inc. (United States)
Scott D. Rommel, Meadowlark Optics, Inc. (United States)
Eric B. Anthony, Meadowlark Optics, Inc. (United States)
Valeria B. Damiao, Meadowlark Optics, Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5363:
Emerging Optoelectronic Applications
Ghassan E. Jabbour; Juha T. Rantala, Editor(s)

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