Abstract

A broadband division-of-amplitude polarimeter (DOAP) is presented. It can provide the real-time measurement of any state of polarization of light, described by its Stokes vector, in large spectral windows. The light is split first into two beams by a prism and then into four beams by means of any polarizer device that will separate the two linear orthogonal states of polarization. Finally, the Stokes vector is directly deduced from the four measured intensities. To avoid interference effects, the splitting of light into four beams is induced only by refractive-index contrast effects between semi-infinite media that are weakly dependent on the wavelength. An experimental setup working from 0.4 to 2 μm is described. It provides similar sensitivities for all the states of polarization, and its characteristics are constant, on a scale of a few percent, within the spectral window. Calibrations performed at 458 and 633 nm display good agreement between theoretical and experimental values. The accuracy of the prism DOAP, evaluated by measurement of the Stokes vector produced by a rotating Glan polarizer, is better than 1%. An infrared extension of this polarimeter is also presented.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

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