Abstract

We demonstrate a novel technique for measuring ultralow linear birefringence of supermirrors (high-reflectivity dielectric mirror coatings). The polarimetric cavity ringdown technique is used in conjunction with the differential detection scheme with circular polarization to enhance the measurement sensitivity. The technique could, in principle, provide the convenience and reliability of linear detection signals and a reasonable tolerance to experimental imperfections. Phase retardation and orientation of each cavity mirror can be determined separately without the influence of the other mirror. The minimum detectable phase retardation achieved experimentally with this technique is ∼6 × 10-8 rad.

© 2000 Optical Society of America

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