A new technique capable of obtaining quantitative values of the rotation angle of the polarization vector by using holography is presented. This is a two-stage holographic process; during the recording stage a hologram of the object of interest is obtained. The reference beam is composed of two beams that form a small angle between them and keep their polarization states at right angles to each other. In the reconstruction stage of the hologram, two images from the hologram are obtained along two different angles. As a result of the interference between these two images, a set of parallel fringes is formed at the image plane. The fringe contrast on the reconstruction is related to the angle of the polarization vector of the light at each position on the image plane. Measurements of the rotation of the polarization angle of a fraction of a degree were obtained. The main application of this technique is in the study of transient phenomena, where single-shot measurements are the only means of obtaining reliable data.
© 2008 Optical Society of America
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