Abstract

This paper reviews the 25 years of activity, by the author and his co-workers, in the development of synthetic sheet polarizers. The early work during the nineteenth century is described briefly, and then the various stages of the modern development in the author’s laboratory are chronicled. A description is given of the nature and the optical properties of the currently-available sheet polarizers of the Polaroid J, H, K, and L types, and of the quantitative methods used in characterizing them. The reasons are given for developing special polarizers for each of a variety of applications such as optical instruments, vectographs, and headlights.

© 1951 Optical Society of America

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References

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  1. W. B. Herapath, Phil. Mag. (4th ser.)  3, 161 (1852).
  2. F. Bernauer, Fortschr. d. Mineralogie 19, 22 (1935).
  3. D. Brewster, The Kaleidoscope, Its History, Theory, and Construction (John Murray, London, 1858), second edition.
  4. H. Ambronn, Ann. Physik u. Chem. 34, 340 (1888).
    [CrossRef]
  5. R. Clark Jones, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 35, 803(A) (1945).
  6. E. H. Land and C. D. West, “Dichroism and Dichroic Polarizers.” Colloid Chemistry, J. Alexander, Ed. (Reinhold Publishing Corporation, New York, 1946), Vol. 6, pp. 160–190. This paper contains much original data, and lists many references to articles and patents concerning polarized light, including those of Käsemann and Marks. Dreyer’s work is first described in U. S. Patent2400877, 1946.
  7. E. H. Land, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 30, 230 (1940); see also p. 184 of reference 6 regarding the work of Land and Mahler.
    [CrossRef]
  8. E. F. W. Alexanderson and R. D. Kell, U. S. Patent1783031, 1930.
  9. V. J. Roper, Traffic Engineering 19, 151 (1949), and E. H. Land and L. W. Chubb, Traffic Engineering 20, 265 and 384, 399 (1950).

1949 (1)

V. J. Roper, Traffic Engineering 19, 151 (1949), and E. H. Land and L. W. Chubb, Traffic Engineering 20, 265 and 384, 399 (1950).

1945 (1)

R. Clark Jones, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 35, 803(A) (1945).

1940 (1)

1935 (1)

F. Bernauer, Fortschr. d. Mineralogie 19, 22 (1935).

1888 (1)

H. Ambronn, Ann. Physik u. Chem. 34, 340 (1888).
[CrossRef]

1852 (1)

W. B. Herapath, Phil. Mag. (4th ser.)  3, 161 (1852).

Alexanderson, E. F. W.

E. F. W. Alexanderson and R. D. Kell, U. S. Patent1783031, 1930.

Ambronn, H.

H. Ambronn, Ann. Physik u. Chem. 34, 340 (1888).
[CrossRef]

Bernauer, F.

F. Bernauer, Fortschr. d. Mineralogie 19, 22 (1935).

Brewster, D.

D. Brewster, The Kaleidoscope, Its History, Theory, and Construction (John Murray, London, 1858), second edition.

Clark Jones, R.

R. Clark Jones, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 35, 803(A) (1945).

Herapath, W. B.

W. B. Herapath, Phil. Mag. (4th ser.)  3, 161 (1852).

Kell, R. D.

E. F. W. Alexanderson and R. D. Kell, U. S. Patent1783031, 1930.

Land, E. H.

E. H. Land, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 30, 230 (1940); see also p. 184 of reference 6 regarding the work of Land and Mahler.
[CrossRef]

E. H. Land and C. D. West, “Dichroism and Dichroic Polarizers.” Colloid Chemistry, J. Alexander, Ed. (Reinhold Publishing Corporation, New York, 1946), Vol. 6, pp. 160–190. This paper contains much original data, and lists many references to articles and patents concerning polarized light, including those of Käsemann and Marks. Dreyer’s work is first described in U. S. Patent2400877, 1946.

Roper, V. J.

V. J. Roper, Traffic Engineering 19, 151 (1949), and E. H. Land and L. W. Chubb, Traffic Engineering 20, 265 and 384, 399 (1950).

West, C. D.

E. H. Land and C. D. West, “Dichroism and Dichroic Polarizers.” Colloid Chemistry, J. Alexander, Ed. (Reinhold Publishing Corporation, New York, 1946), Vol. 6, pp. 160–190. This paper contains much original data, and lists many references to articles and patents concerning polarized light, including those of Käsemann and Marks. Dreyer’s work is first described in U. S. Patent2400877, 1946.

Ann. Physik u. Chem. (1)

H. Ambronn, Ann. Physik u. Chem. 34, 340 (1888).
[CrossRef]

Fortschr. d. Mineralogie (1)

F. Bernauer, Fortschr. d. Mineralogie 19, 22 (1935).

J. Opt. Soc. Am. (2)

Phil. Mag. (1)

W. B. Herapath, Phil. Mag. (4th ser.)  3, 161 (1852).

Traffic Engineering (1)

V. J. Roper, Traffic Engineering 19, 151 (1949), and E. H. Land and L. W. Chubb, Traffic Engineering 20, 265 and 384, 399 (1950).

Other (3)

E. F. W. Alexanderson and R. D. Kell, U. S. Patent1783031, 1930.

E. H. Land and C. D. West, “Dichroism and Dichroic Polarizers.” Colloid Chemistry, J. Alexander, Ed. (Reinhold Publishing Corporation, New York, 1946), Vol. 6, pp. 160–190. This paper contains much original data, and lists many references to articles and patents concerning polarized light, including those of Käsemann and Marks. Dreyer’s work is first described in U. S. Patent2400877, 1946.

D. Brewster, The Kaleidoscope, Its History, Theory, and Construction (John Murray, London, 1858), second edition.

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Figures (8)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Silver iodide replicas of (disoriented) herapathite needles in the J polarizer. (Electron micrography by C. E. Hall, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1949.)

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

Principal transmittances versus wavelength, for a typical H polarizer. (Transmittance values have been corrected for reflection at the surfaces.)

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

Principal optical densities versus wavelength, for the typical H polarizer of Fig. 2. (The data have been corrected for surface reflection.)

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

Optical density ratio of a microcrystalline polarizer (calculated) versus the stretch ratio of the polarizer sheet, for needle-shaped crystals of different intrinsic density ratios. The crystals are assumed to be uniaxial in optical properties; the unique axis is the axis with the greater absorption coefficient, and is parallel with the geometrical axis of the needle.

Fig. 5
Fig. 5

Principal optical densities versus wavelength, for a tellurium polarizer. (The data have been corrected for surface reflection.)

Fig. 6
Fig. 6

Electron micrograph of tellurium needles in polyvinyl alcohol, precipitated in situ in the oriented state. (The matrix was re-dissolved in making the pellicle, which fact accounts for the disorientation.) It is interesting to speculate that needles like these may possibly account for the polarizing action of interstellar space.

Fig. 7
Fig. 7

The approximate molecular structure of polyvinyl alcohol, polyvinylene (K polarizer), and polymeric iodine (H polarizer).

Fig. 8
Fig. 8

The optical behavior of typical J, H, and K polarizers versus wavelength. The curves represent transmittances if referred to the ordinate scale on the left, and represent optical densities if referred to the scale on the right. The principal transmittance ky is plotted on a linear ordinate scale in the upper part of the diagram, and kz, the transmittance of the highly absorbed component, is plotted on a logarithmic scale in the lower part. (The data have been corrected for surface reflection.)