Abstract

The application of space periodic variation of light polarization for measurement and calculation of the distribution of the phase retardation between two eigenwaves propagating inside a linearly birefringent media and the distribution of the azimuth angle of the first eigenvector is described. The measuring method proposed does not require any mechanical movements or rotations of any optical elements. Application of a liquid crystal (LC) modulator instead of a quarter-wave plate gives an opportunity to introduce the required phase shift. The space periodic modulation of the polarization of light is achieved by the use of a Wollaston prism placed inside the path of the light beam. Then a fast Fourier transform is used for further calculations. The number of measurements of the light intensity at the output of the system is minimized to two. These assumptions make the proposed method very fast, which is especially important in measurements of the objects with optical anisotropy that is changing in time.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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