Abstract

We have investigated the effects of nonnormal incident rays in calculating the refractive index profile of a dielectric sample using the reflectance measurement data obtained with a scanning confocal epimicroscope and also by solving three-dimensional vector wave equations for linearly polarized light. The numerically calculated reflection data of tightly focused Gaussian beams with different numerical apertures (NAs) on planar surfaces with various refractive indices confirm that the reflectance increases with an increase in the NA of a focusing objective lens. This is due to the nonnormal incident ray components of a Gaussian beam. We have found that the refractive index obtained with the assumption of a normal incident beam is far from the real value when the NA of a focusing lens becomes larger than 0.5, and thus the variation in the reflectance for different angular components in a Gaussian beam must be taken into consideration while using a larger NA lens. Errors in practical refractive index calculation for an optical fiber based on a normal incident beam in reflectance measurements can be as large as 1% in comparison to real values calculated by our three-dimensional vector wave equations.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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