Abstract

The transmission of monochromatic light through a plane polarizer, through a birefringent plate, through a second birefringent plate, and, finally, through a plane analyzer is analyzed theoretically. General expressions are given for the transmission in the case of arbitrary angular orientations of the characteristic directions of the four optical elements. It is considered that the transmission is detected by a photomultiplier, and expressions for the photoresponse are given. Further, it is assumed that the birefringence of one of the plates is a sinusoidally time-varying function, and then some characteristics of the waveforms of the photoresponse are examined. Relations are developed for the harmonic content of the photoresponse for time-varying birefringence of small amplitude. Waveforms obtained experimentally using a flow-birefringent liquid in oscillatory shear are presented. The applicability of this four-element optical system to measurement of the retardation of both constant- and time-varying birefringent elements and to the generation of waveforms is indicated.

© 1964 Optical Society of America

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