Abstract

Measurement of birefringence is useful for the examination of technical and biological objects. One of the main problems, however, is that the polarization state of light in birefringent media changes periodically. Without knowledge of the period number, the birefringence of a given medium cannot be reliably determined. We propose to analyze the spectrum of light in order to determine the birefringence. We use a particle swarm optimization algorithm for an automatic processing spectra of light transmitted through birefringent material for two orthogonal states of polarization. We have tested the described algorithm on a liquid crystal cell with varying effective birefringence. The proposed method can be used for the measurement of uniaxial positive birefringence without knowing the number of retardation periods or an approximate value of the measurement result. This fact makes the proposed method useful for automatic measurements, when hundreds or thousands of spectra need to be analyzed.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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