Abstract

The deflection of light in ferroelastic crystals results from refraction and reflection at domain walls. When the tilt angle of the principal axes in neighboring domains is small, simple relationships between the crystal birefringences and the angles of the deflected beams can be deduced from Snell’s law of refraction. As a rule, this condition is satisfied at W-domain walls in ferroelastic species that have a biaxial prototype phase. In this case, measurement of the deflection angles permits one to determine the birefringences easily. This method has as its main advantages independence of the sample thickness and the need for only rough sample preparation. It is absolutely insensitive to temperature fluctuations. We have applied the method to crystals of rubidium hydrogen selenate and dihydrated barium chloride as illustrative examples.

© 2000 Optical Society of America

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