Abstract

An optical device that converts unpolarized light into a single polarization state is described. The device is based on a polarizing beam splitter that separates the two polarization directions. The beam splitter is combined with two pairs of equilateral prisms that are used to collimate the two beams in terms of both propagation and polarization directions. When it is used in combination with a blazed diffraction grating, this device is shown to effectively remove the polarization dependence of the first-order diffracted power. The device has an insertion loss of approximately 14% for purely s-polarized light. However, for unpolarized light incident upon the two gratings studied here, the increased throughput of the p-polarized component leads to an average relative gain in overall efficiency of 13%–19%, depending on the grating. In collimating the two polarization directions, the device may cause a reduction in spectral resolution for a rectangular entrance slit. As a result, the device is more likely to find use in spectrometers that have a circular aperture, such as that provided by an optical fiber.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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