We first derive the round-trip Jones matrix for double passage through a reciprocal optical medium by means of reflection off a plane mirror that could be optically anisotropic. We then show that if a medium with only linear birefringence and linear dichroism is placed between a pair of orthogonal quarter-wave plates with principal axes at 45° to that of the medium and the sandwich is placed in front of an isotropic mirror it behaves, under double passage, like an isotropic medium. We describe a simple liquid crystal device that behaves, in reflection, as an isotropic medium whose refractive index can be varied by application of an electric field, thus acting as a phase only modulator for light in any polarization state.
© 2008 Optical Society of America
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