Abstract

The two-dimensional measurement principle for a birefringence vector distribution in transparent materials is analyzed. The system nonuniformity that results from the system components makes the two-dimensional measurement principle quite different from that of a point-measurement method, and the measurement principle requires a two-dimensional analysis. A pulsed optical phase modulation is employed to simplify the two-dimensional mathematical analysis. As a result, concepts are proposed of the system function that characterizes the system nonuniformity that results from the system components and of the intrinsic function that is related to the birefringence vector distribution in a birefringent sample. The influence of the system nonuniformity on the two-dimensional measurement is eliminated by measurement of the intrinsic function, whereas its two values allow for the mathematical separation of the birefringence vector components. The effectiveness of the two-dimensional analysis is illustrated by measurement of a birefringence vector distribution, which is induced by an internal stress distribution in a poly(methyl methacrylate) plate, owing to the photoelastic effect.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

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