Abstract

We report on the physical mechanism underlying the temperature dependence of phase retardation. Changes in refractive index and thickness of the wave plate are the two main contributions to phase retardation variations. Temperature-dependent changes in refractive index are described by Sellmeier’s equation. Constants in this equation need to be determined by fits to experimental data. A new high-precision instrument was used to measure phase retardation at various temperatures. Once determined, the fitting equation can be used to calculate the phase retardation at any temperature, and thus has implications for wave-plate industrial manufacturing.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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