Abstract

A time-domain technique for quantitatively measuring linear retardance with an unprecedented degree of accuracy is described both theoretically and experimentally. This novel approach builds upon the unique capabilities afforded by the pulsed ring-down paradigm, as augmented by the insertion of polarization-selective components into the light injection stage and signal detection train of a stable, high-finesse cavity that contains the optical component under investigation. Application to a quarter-waveplate of the compound zero-order design highlights the robust and versatile nature of the proposed scheme while simultaneously demonstrating the ability to resolve retardation imperfections with (one standard deviation) uncertainties of better than λ106.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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