We present developments using photoaligned liquid crystal polymers for creating vortex retarders, half-wave retarders with a continuously variable fast axis. Polarization properties of components designed to create different polarization vortex modes are presented. We assess the viability of these components by using the theoretical and experimental point spread functions in Mueller matrix format, or a point spread matrix (PSM). The measured PSM of these components in an optical system is very close to the theoretically predicted values, thus showing that these components should provide excellent performance in applications utilizing polarized optical vortices.
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