Abstract

A new heterodyne polariscope for sequential measurements of the complete optical parameters of linearly birefringent materials is proposed. A multiple-order crystalline quartz quarter-wave plate used as a sample was tested in two sequential setups. In the first setup we used an electro-optic modulator to modulate the circular heterodyne polariscope and then applied a phase-locking technique to measure the principal axis angle precisely. In the second setup, removing the first quarter-wave plate, resulted in a linear heterodyne polariscope, and again we used the phase-locking technique to extract the apparent retardance. Furthermore, by tilting the sample and placing a material of known thickness into the second setup, we determined the order, thickness, and refractive indices (ne  and  no) of a multiple-order wave plate by using the new algorithm. The proposed method has average absolute errors of 0.2167° and 0.15% with respect to the principal axis angle and the apparent retardance, respectively. The order, thickness, and refractive indices are also in good agreement with the known sample data. In contrast to the conventional measurement schemes that could not measure more than two parameters, the proposed heterodyne polariscope uniquely measures six parameters.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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