Abstract

An analysis is made of the effect of film absorption on the characteristics of a reflection polarizer consisting of a thin film on an absorbing metal substrate. Monochromatic polarized light is obtained when one component of polarization is extinguished by means of interference. A method of analysis is developed for determining the angle of incidence and the film thickness for which polarization occurs. Numerical reflectance results are presented for polarizers having a silver substrate and films with different degrees of absorption. Very weakly absorbing or transparent films may give rise to excessive sensitivity of the extinguished component to departures from the polarizing angle and from the optimum film thickness, particularly when the substrate is highly reflecting (e.g., silver). The use of properly selected absorbing films can provide a low degree of sensitivity for the extinguished component and still yield adequately high reflectances for the unextinguished component.

© 1973 Optical Society of America

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Equations (14)

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