Abstract

The theory and the experimental procedure are given for a new photoelectric method of measuring any relative phase retardation in a plate. As the method is most accurate for a phase retardation of π/2, it is especially powerful for calibrating quarter-wave plates directly and half-wave plates indirectly. It is applicable to the ultraviolet, visible and near infrared regions of the spectrum, being limited only by the sensitivity of the photocells used. The wavelength at which a retardation plate is quarter- or half-wave can be given with an accuracy of less than 0.2 percent, which is equivalent in the visible range to about 10 A. The method may be used to determine the dispersion of birefringence in a plate over the whole spectral range of the photocells.

© 1954 Optical Society of America

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