Method for the measurement of phase retardation of any wave plate with high precision

The State Key Lab of Precision Measurement Technology and Instruments, Department of Precision Instruments and Mechanology, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China.
Applied Optics (Impact Factor: 1.78). 11/2008; 47(30):5562-9. DOI: 10.1364/AO.47.005562
Source: PubMed


We present a measuring method for any wave plate retardation with fairly high precision that utilizes a laser frequency splitting technique. To avoid strong mode competition in measuring half and full wave plates, we use two separate methods: comparing adjacent longitudinal mode spacing, and phase offset with an additional quarter wave plate. Therefore any wave plate can be characterized by a single instrument, and no complicated experimental arrangement or data analysis is required. The performance of the system is demonstrated by determining the phase retardation of several samples to a precision and repeatability better than lambda/10(4); moreover, an error analysis is proposed.

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