Abstract

The fringe pattern obtained when a divergent (or convergent) beam goes through a sample of birefringent crystal between two crossed polarizers contains information that is inherent to the crystalline sample under study. The formation of fringe patterns is analyzed from distinct approaches and with different degrees of approximation considering cones of light of large numerical aperture. We obtain analytic explicit formulas of the phase shift on the screen and compare them with the exact numerical solution. The results obtained are valid for arbitrary orientation of the optical axis and are not restricted either to low birefringence or to small angles of incidence. Moreover, they enable the extraction of the main features related to the characterization of uniaxial crystal slabs, such as the optical axis tilt angle and the principal refractive indices.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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