Abstract

A highly sensitive and automated technique has been developed for measuring the birefringence in transparent optical materials. The spatially scanning modulated transmission ellipsometer maps the birefringence of a transparent material by probing it with a polarization-modulated He–Ne laser beam. Computer-controlled voltage biasing of a Pockels cell permits self-calibration and background subtraction of the system retardance. The technique is capable of resolving differential retardances as small as 0.1 nm (λ/6328) through a range of ±λ/2, where λ = 632.8 nm. Samples typically range in size from 50 μm to 10 cm in diameter within the sample plane and as much as 400 mm along the optical axis.

© 1993 Optical Society of America

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