Abstract

A simple and accurate wavemeter for measuring the wavelength of monochromatic light is described. The device uses the wavelength-dependent phase lag between principal polarization states of a length of birefringent material (retarder) as the basis for the measurement of the optical wavelength. The retarder is sandwiched between a polarizer and a polarizing beam splitter and is oriented such that its principal axes are 45 deg to the axis of the polarizer and the principal axes of the beam splitter. As a result of the disparity in propagation velocities between the principal polarization states of the retarder, the ratio of the optical power exiting the two ports of the polarizing beam splitter is wavelength dependent. If the input wavelength is known to be within a specified range, the measurement of the power ratio uniquely determines the input wavelength. The device offers the advantage of trading wavelength coverage for increased resolution simply through the choice of the retarder length. Implementations of the device employing both bulk-optic components and fiber-optic components are described, and the results of a laboratory test of a fiber-optic prototype are presented. The prototype had a wavelength accuracy of ±0.03 nm.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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References

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  1. M. Born and E. Wolf, Principles of Optics (Pergamon, Oxford, England, 1985), pp. 401–414.
  2. W. R. C. Rowley, “Laser wavelength measurements,” Radio Sci. 14, 585–591 (1979).
    [CrossRef]
  3. R. J. Bell, Introductory Fourier Transform Spectroscopy (Academic, New York, 1972), pp. 2–26.
  4. T. Woschnik and W. Behmenburg, “A wavemeter for controlled tuning of near i.r. diode lasers,” Spectrochim. Acta B 44, 949–955 (1989).
    [CrossRef]
  5. T. E. Dimmick and J. Weidner, “Simple, inexpensive wavemeter implemented with a fused fiber coupler,” Appl. Opt. 36, 1898–1901 (1997).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  6. J. C. Braasch, W. Holzapfel, and S. Neuschaefer-Rube, “Wavelength determination of semiconductor lasers: precise but inexpensive,” Opt. Eng. 34, 1417–1420 (1995).
    [CrossRef]
  7. B. E. A. Saleh and M. C. Teich, Fundamentals of Photonics (Wiley, New York, 1991), pp. 197–203.
  8. Data sheet PI936, “PANDA Polarization-Maintaining Single-Mode Optical Fiber” (Corning, Inc., New York, 1994).
  9. M. Bass, ed., Handbook of Optics (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1995), Vol. 2, Part 4.

1997 (1)

1995 (1)

J. C. Braasch, W. Holzapfel, and S. Neuschaefer-Rube, “Wavelength determination of semiconductor lasers: precise but inexpensive,” Opt. Eng. 34, 1417–1420 (1995).
[CrossRef]

1989 (1)

T. Woschnik and W. Behmenburg, “A wavemeter for controlled tuning of near i.r. diode lasers,” Spectrochim. Acta B 44, 949–955 (1989).
[CrossRef]

1979 (1)

W. R. C. Rowley, “Laser wavelength measurements,” Radio Sci. 14, 585–591 (1979).
[CrossRef]

Behmenburg, W.

T. Woschnik and W. Behmenburg, “A wavemeter for controlled tuning of near i.r. diode lasers,” Spectrochim. Acta B 44, 949–955 (1989).
[CrossRef]

Bell, R. J.

R. J. Bell, Introductory Fourier Transform Spectroscopy (Academic, New York, 1972), pp. 2–26.

Born, M.

M. Born and E. Wolf, Principles of Optics (Pergamon, Oxford, England, 1985), pp. 401–414.

Braasch, J. C.

J. C. Braasch, W. Holzapfel, and S. Neuschaefer-Rube, “Wavelength determination of semiconductor lasers: precise but inexpensive,” Opt. Eng. 34, 1417–1420 (1995).
[CrossRef]

Dimmick, T. E.

Holzapfel, W.

J. C. Braasch, W. Holzapfel, and S. Neuschaefer-Rube, “Wavelength determination of semiconductor lasers: precise but inexpensive,” Opt. Eng. 34, 1417–1420 (1995).
[CrossRef]

Neuschaefer-Rube, S.

J. C. Braasch, W. Holzapfel, and S. Neuschaefer-Rube, “Wavelength determination of semiconductor lasers: precise but inexpensive,” Opt. Eng. 34, 1417–1420 (1995).
[CrossRef]

Rowley, W. R. C.

W. R. C. Rowley, “Laser wavelength measurements,” Radio Sci. 14, 585–591 (1979).
[CrossRef]

Saleh, B. E. A.

B. E. A. Saleh and M. C. Teich, Fundamentals of Photonics (Wiley, New York, 1991), pp. 197–203.

Teich, M. C.

B. E. A. Saleh and M. C. Teich, Fundamentals of Photonics (Wiley, New York, 1991), pp. 197–203.

Weidner, J.

Wolf, E.

M. Born and E. Wolf, Principles of Optics (Pergamon, Oxford, England, 1985), pp. 401–414.

Woschnik, T.

T. Woschnik and W. Behmenburg, “A wavemeter for controlled tuning of near i.r. diode lasers,” Spectrochim. Acta B 44, 949–955 (1989).
[CrossRef]

Appl. Opt. (1)

Opt. Eng. (1)

J. C. Braasch, W. Holzapfel, and S. Neuschaefer-Rube, “Wavelength determination of semiconductor lasers: precise but inexpensive,” Opt. Eng. 34, 1417–1420 (1995).
[CrossRef]

Radio Sci. (1)

W. R. C. Rowley, “Laser wavelength measurements,” Radio Sci. 14, 585–591 (1979).
[CrossRef]

Spectrochim. Acta B (1)

T. Woschnik and W. Behmenburg, “A wavemeter for controlled tuning of near i.r. diode lasers,” Spectrochim. Acta B 44, 949–955 (1989).
[CrossRef]

Other (5)

M. Born and E. Wolf, Principles of Optics (Pergamon, Oxford, England, 1985), pp. 401–414.

R. J. Bell, Introductory Fourier Transform Spectroscopy (Academic, New York, 1972), pp. 2–26.

B. E. A. Saleh and M. C. Teich, Fundamentals of Photonics (Wiley, New York, 1991), pp. 197–203.

Data sheet PI936, “PANDA Polarization-Maintaining Single-Mode Optical Fiber” (Corning, Inc., New York, 1994).

M. Bass, ed., Handbook of Optics (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1995), Vol. 2, Part 4.

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Figures (8)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Schematic diagram of the wavemeter showing the input polarizer, retarder, polarizing beam splitter, photodetectors D1 and D2, and the log–ratio amplifier. The output voltage V 0 provides a measure of the input optical wavelength.

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

Wavelength dependence of the wavemeter output voltage given by Eq. (6). The output voltage has singularities at wavelengths λ m where m is an integer. Δλ is the bandwidth for which unambiguous wavelength determination is possible.

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

Wavemeter implemented with bulk-optic components. The retarder is oriented with fast and slow axes at 45 deg to the axis.

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

Wavemeter implemented with fiber-optic components. The polarizer is implemented with polarizing fiber and the retarder is a length of birefringent fiber. The device is assembled by fusion splicing. PM, polarization maintaining.

Fig. 5
Fig. 5

Wavemeter implemented with bulk-optic components, modified from the arrangement of Fig. (3) to reduce polarization fading. LCVR is a liquid-crystal variable retarder oriented with its principal axes 45 deg to the axis.

Fig. 6
Fig. 6

Temperature-compensated retarder. First and second retarders are made of different birefringent materials with lengths L 1 and L 2 chosen to achieve no net temperature dependence.

Fig. 7
Fig. 7

Wavelength dependence of the ratio of the optical powers exiting the output ports of the polarizing beam splitter: ×, measured data; solid curve, response predicted by Eq. (6) with nL Δ = 42.274 µm and G = 10.

Fig. 8
Fig. 8

Wavelength dependence of the wavemeter output voltage: +, measured data; solid curve, linear fit to the measured data.

Tables (1)

Tables Icon

Table 1 Properties of Some Common Birefringent Materials that can be used as the Retarder

Equations (20)

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Γ=2πΔnLλ,
V0=G log10R1PAR2PB,
AoxAoy=exp-jΓ+1/2exp-jΓ-1/2exp-jΓ-1/2exp-jΓ+1/2×1000AixAiy.
PAAoxAox*
PBAoyAoy*.
V0=Glog10R11-cos ΓR21+cos Γ.
λm=2ΔnL/m,
Δλm=λm-λm+1=2ΔnLmm+1
Δλ=λ22LΔn.
dV0dλminimum=G4π log10eΔnLλ2.
δλ=2mdΔndT L+ΔnαLδT,
α=1LdLdT,
dΔndT=dnsdT-dnfdT,
δλ=λFδT,
F=dΔnL/dTΔnL=1ΔndΔndT+α,
Feq=Δn1L1F1-Δn2L2F2Δn1L1-Δn2L2.
L1L2=Δn2F2Δn1F1.
λ2Δλ=2Δn1L1-Δn2L2.
L1=λ22Δλ1/Δn11-F1/F2,
L2=λ22Δλ1/Δn2F2/F1-1.

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