Abstract

Gradient-index (GRIN) media can contain stress birefringence resulting from the variation in material composition. Anisotropy in a GRIN rod lens affects ray propagation and can degrade image quality. A technique, believed to be new, for measuring birefringence in GRIN rod lenses has been developed. The change in optical path difference (OPD) for orthogonal polarizations is measured directly. With this method, effects on OPD from standard imaging aberrations are excluded. Birefringence measurements for various GRIN rod samples are presented. The data are compared with results obtained previously by use of a Twyman–Green measurement method. Also, the polarization effects on tilt fringes observed with the direct measurement method and the Twyman–Green method are presented and modeled theoretically. Tilt fringes for large birefringence test cases are also modeled.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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