This study develops a method for determining the chiral parameter and the refractive index of an isotropic chiral medium using chiral reflection equations and critical angle phenomena. Linearly polarized light propagates back and forth in a parallelogram prism between two parallel compartments with chiral solutions. A beam splitter then divides the light that emerges from the prism into a reflected light beam and a transmitted light beam. The two beams pass through a compensator and an analyzer, respectively, to cause phase compensation and interference of s and p polarizations. The phase difference between the two interference signals are initially optimized by a suitable optical arrangement and subsequently measured by heterodyne interferometry. Additionally, the refractive index of the solution is determined from the critical angle that occurred at the discontinuity of the phase difference between the two interference signals. These results are substituted into derived equations to calculate the chiral parameter. The approach has the merits of both common-path interferometry and heterodyne interferometry.
© 2008 Optical Society of America
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