Abstract

The two-wave-plate compensator (TWC) technique is introduced for single-point retardation measurements. The TWC method uses a known wave plate together with a wave plate of unknown retardation and produces a linearly polarized output that allows a null of intensity to be detected. The TWC method is compared both theoretically and experimentally with the existing Brace–Köhler and Sénarmont methods. The resolution of the TWC is shown to be 0.02 nm. TWC enables the measurement of a sample retardation with as little as 0.13% error and thus is more accurate than either the Brace–Köhler or the Sénarmont method.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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