Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Rotating-polarizer polarimeter for accurate retardance measurement



Paul A. Williams, Allen Rose, Chih-Ming Wang


We demonstrate an automated polarimeter based on a rotating polarizer for the measurement oflinear retardance independent oflaser power and detector gain. The retardance is found when a curve is fitted to a unique normalization of the intensity response of the polarimeter over a range of input polarizer orientations. The performance of this polarimeter is optimal for measurements of quarter-wave retardance and minimal for half-wave retardance. Uncertainties are demonstrated by measurements on six stable double Fresnel rhombs of nominal quarter-wave retardance, yielding expanded uncertainties between 0.031 ° and 0.067°. The accuracy has also been verified by blind comparisons with interferometric and modified null retardance measurement techniques.
Optics Letters


Williams, P. , Rose, A. and Wang, C. (1997), Rotating-polarizer polarimeter for accurate retardance measurement, Optics Letters, [online], (Accessed May 28, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created September 1, 1997, Updated February 17, 2017