Abstract

The field-of-view dependence of polarizing beam-splitter cubes has been studied to characterize their behavior in imaging systems such as optical computers and optical correlators and in other applications that involve noncollimated light. Significant polarization aberration is present in polarizing beamsplitter cubes for two reasons: (1) the s- and p-component orientations, which define the polarizing axes, at the beam-splitting interface vary with the direction of propagation, and (2) the performance of the coating is a function of the angle of incidence. We describe the polarization aberration of a polarizing beam-splitter cube in terms of its diattenuation (polarizing efficiency). We use an imaging polarimeter to measure six figures of merit for three polarizing beam-splitter cubes demonstrating typical polarization aberrations. Finally, we derive the Mueller matrix for a polarizing beam-splitter cube in terms of the s and p transmittance and reflectance and the phase retardances, the parameters generally calculated with thin-film analysis programs.

© 1994 Optical Society of America

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