Abstract

A convenient and accurate technique for measuring the birefringence of liquid crystals at discrete wavelengths or as a continuous function of wavelength in the ultraviolet, visible, or infrared spectral regions is described. The method is based on determination of the phase differences which occur when monochromatic polarized light propagates through a medium with an anisotropic refractive index. Birefringence measurements at 0.6328 μm for two liquid crystal materials, BDH-E7 and ZLI-1132, and a continuous birefringence spectrum of ZLI-1132 from 2 to 16 μm are reported. Additionally, a liquid crystal based phase retardation plate which can be voltage tuned and calibrated to provide any degree of phase shift from 0 to 2π over a wide wavelength range (0.4–16 μm) is discussed.

© 1984 Optical Society of America

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