Abstract

Stress birefringence can be found in gradient-index (GRIN) materials because they contain a variation in composition. GRIN glass fabricated by ion exchange may contain stress from two different processes. These include a size difference between the exchange and the diffusing ions and a variation in the thermal-expansion coefficient across the gradient region. The optical properties of the stressed material are polarization dependent, and therefore image quality is directly affected. We examine birefringence in GRIN rod lenses that have lengths more than ten times greater than their diameters. The effects are more easily observed in long rod lenses because of the large optical path lengths.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

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