Abstract

Details are given of an instrument capable of measuring large and small optical phase differences between the components of an elliptically polarized radiation. The lowest limit is between 10−4 and 10−5 2π. The compensator consists of an accurate quarter-wave plate (Sénarmont compensator) for the wavelength used (5461A) and a Nakamura half-shadow device. The quarter-wave plate, suitably orientated, reduces the elliptically polarized light to a linearly polarized vibration, the azimuth of which is simply related to the phase difference. The azimuth is determined with a Glan-Thompson polarizing prism. The full theory is given with special reference to possible sources of error. These are calculated for a series of values. An expression for the half-shadow sensitivity is found. The method of use and of construction are fully described. The instrument is particularly suitable for the measurement of streaming double refraction.

© 1954 Optical Society of America

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