Abstract

An ellipse is defined by two parameters and attention is given to the selection of a convenient pair for the specification of an elliptically polarized beam of infrared radiation. If a polar is rotated in the path of such a beam, the intensity transmitted varies harmonically with azimuth. By simple geometrical analysis of this curve the inclination and the axial ratio of the ellipse may be determined with precision. This principle forms the basis of a method for the measurement of optical constants in the infrared. The labor of computing results is overcome by a graphical technique.

The ultimate sensitivity in the infrared is limited by the “noise” present in the detector. The accuracy of the method is examined in terms of the signal-to-noise ratio. It is shown that the optimal angle of incidence is the principal angle. An expression is derived for the azimuth of the incident beam which is associated with the most accurate determination of optical constants; this is less than the principal azimuth. The conclusions are presented graphically.

Experimental details are given and results obtained by this and other methods are discussed.

© 1954 Optical Society of America

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