Abstract

We explore a free-space polarization modulator in which a variable phase is introduced between the right- and left-handed circular polarization components and used to rotate the linear polarization of the outgoing beam relative to that of the incoming beam. In this device, the polarization states are separated by a circular polarizer that consists of a quarter-wave plate in combination with a wire grid. A movable mirror is positioned behind and parallel to the circular polarizer. As the polarizer–mirror distance is changed, an incident linear polarization will be rotated through an angle that is proportional to the introduced phase delay. We demonstrate a prototype device that modulates Stokes Q and U over a 20% bandwidth, from 77 to 94 GHz.

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