Abstract

The reflection and refraction of light of wavelength λ at an angle of incidence ϕ by the interface between two dielectric media of refractive indices N0 and N2 can be made completely independent of polarization by introducing a thin layer of refractive index N1 = (N0 N2)1/2 and thickness d = (λ/4)(N12N02 sin2 ϕ)−1/2. This is the basis of an ideal beam splitter, whose general characteristics are presented here. A particularly simple result is that the device reflectance has an upper limit of tan4(ϕ/2), so that a 50–50% beam splitter must operate at ϕ > 80.121°. Lower reflectances, attainable at lower angles, are suited for applications such as optical feedback and monitoring the output power and state of polarization of high-power lasers.

© 1985 Optical Society of America

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