Abstract

A method has been developed to improve the accuracy with which the polarization state of light can be characterized by the rotating quarter-wave plate technique. Through detailed analysis, verified by experiment, we determine the positions of the optic axes of the retarder and linear polarizer, and the wave plate retardance, to better than 1° for typical signal-to-noise ratios. Accurate determination of the Stokes parameters can be achieved using a single wave plate for a wide range of optical wavelengths using this technique to determine the precise retardance at each of the wavelengths of interest.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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