Abstract

We describe the polarization topology of the vector beams emerging from a patterned birefringent liquid crystal plate with a topological charge q at its center (q-plate). The polarization topological structures for different q-plates and different input polarization states have been studied experimentally by measuring the Stokes parameters point-by-point in the beam transverse plane. Furthermore, we used a tuned q=1/2-plate to generate cylindrical vector beams with radial or azimuthal polarizations, with the possibility of switching dynamically between these two cases by simply changing the linear polarization of the input beam.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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