Abstract

An achromatic half-wave plate (HWP) to be used in millimeter cosmic microwave background (CMB) polarization experiments has been designed, manufactured, and tested. The design is based on the 5-plates Pancharatnam recipe and it works in the frequency range 85185GHz. A model has been used to predict the transmission, reflection, absorption, and phase shift as a function of frequency. The HWP has been tested by using coherent radiation from a back-wave oscillator to investigate its modulation efficiency and with incoherent radiation from a polarizing Fourier transform spectrometer (FTS) to explore its frequency behavior. The FTS measurements have been fitted with an optical performance model which is in excellent agreement with the data. A detailed analysis of the data also allows a precise determination of the HWP fast and slow axes in the frequency band of operation. A list of the HWP performance characteristics is reported including estimates of its cross polarization.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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