A method of calculating compensators in polarization-sensitive optical systems

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Abstract

A simple method to measure and compensate polarization-sensitive optical components (retarders) is proposed, based on Stokes vector polarimetry. First, the Mueller matrix of an unknown polarization-sensitive element with arbitrary retardance and fast-axis orientation is obtained by means of a conventional measurement and calculation polarimetric procedure. Then a novel numerical technique is proposed, allowing to express the measured retarder's Mueller matrix in terms of retardance δ and fast axis orientation θ. Further, a method for calculating polarization compensators is proposed, to balance phase differences introduced by one or more retarders. Compensation is achieved by a single compensating retarder whose parameters are derived from the original retarder's Mueller matrix, or its equivalent (δ,θ) pair. The technique works for all possible fast-axis orientations of the original retarder. The method was validated using an electrically controllable liquid crystal retarder as a compensator. The approach described here is constrained to optical elements that behave as nearly pure retarders, i.e. their diattenuation and depolarization are negligible. Possible applications are in the design of polarization-sensitive systems (biomedical, environmental, chemical, optical communications, etc.) where recovery and/or precise control of the polarization state of light is needed, in polarization tracing models based on the Mueller matrix formalism, and others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number163474
JournalOptik
Volume201
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

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Keywords

  • Optical compensators
  • Optical retarders
  • Polarization-sensitive optical elements
  • Polarization-sensitive optical systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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