Abstract

The old method of polarization by transmission through a pile of plates or films inclined to the incident radiation at Brewster’s angle is widely used both in the infrared and ultraviolet regions. The polarization effected is commonly estimated by an expression due to Provostaye and Desains in which it is assumed that there are multiple reflections among all the surfaces. Such an expression does not give agreement with experiment; for example, the predicted figure for eight films of selenium in the infrared is 89 percent, while the observed value is over 99 percent.

The performance of such polarization units is analyzed and comparison is made with observations on thin films of zaponlac in the visible and of selenium in the infrared. Multiple reflections among the component films are of little importance because of the significant intervals between the plates. Interference within the films is examined. Because the tolerance permitted to the phase difference between the interfering components is small, these phase differences are to be regarded as randomly distributed. There is, therefore, little regular interference, and the phase change introduced by such components is negligible if the refractive index is large. Detailed expressions are derived and discussed. Calculated figures of polarization agree with experiment.

© 1954 Optical Society of America

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