Abstract

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a nominally quarter-wave linear retarder for wavelengths near 1.3 µm that is stable within ±0.1° retardance over a range of wavelength, input angle, temperature, and environmental variations. The device consists of two concatenated Fresnel rhombs made from a low stress-optic-coefficient glass that minimizes the residual birefringence from machining and packaging. Device machining, assembly, and antireflection coating tolerances are discussed, and the theoretical performance is compared with measurements. Humidity can modify retardance of the total-internal-reflection surfaces; we discuss packaging that mitigates this effect and provides an estimated 10-year lifetime for the device. Several measurement methods were intercompared to ensure that the device retardance can be measured with an uncertainty less than 0.1°. Similar retarders will be certified by NIST and made available as Standard Reference Materials.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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