Abstract

An imaging dynamic photopolarimeter in an optical configuration P(α)SA(n) (polarizer-sample-analyzer) having harmonically rotating polarizer (P) and analyzer (A), is presented for studies of inhomogeneous birefringent media. The method is capable of simple and precise measuring of birefringence and optical rotation across a two-dimensional field. Although the basic principle upon which the method operates has been proposed earlier, the focus here is on its extension, applicable to a whole field, and immediate measurement of three optical parameters, which have direct physical meaning. Earlier versions of the instrument either operate with a single beam or measure components of Jones or Mueller matrices. The operation of the given method is consistent with a general idea of dynamic photopolarimetry by discrete Fourier analysis and entails digital procession of intensity images, obtained at nine equispaced positions of the polarizer and the analyzer during synchronous rotation of them. A technique of data acquisition is described, and a detailed error analysis is provided. Theoretical considerations are supplemented with testing measurements of a quartz phase plate.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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