Abstract

We discuss the use of wave plates with arbitrary retardances, in conjunction with a linear polarizer, to split linearly polarized light into two linearly polarized beams with an arbitrary splitting fraction. We show that for non-ideal wave plates, a much broader range of splitting ratios is typically possible when a pair of wave plates, rather than a single wave plate, is used. We discuss the maximum range of splitting fractions possible with one or two wave plates as a function of the wave plate retardances, and how to align the wave plates to achieve the maximum splitting range possible when simply rotating one of the wave plates while keeping the other one fixed. We also briefly discuss an alignment-free polarization rotator constructed from a pair of half-wave plates.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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