A novel technique that measures the linear birefringence of crystal quartz within the configuration of a Soliel-Babinet compensator (SBC) is proposed. A characteristic of this technique is that phase retardation introduced by quartz is amplitude modulation (AM) instead of phase modulation (PM). The linear birefringence is measured regardless of the azimuth angle of the SBC and the orientation of the linear polarization laser beam. Compared with the single-wedge method, the SBC is similar to a parallel plate that allows for a wider range of refractive index of the test material to be measured. This proposed method uses a conventional amplitude demodulation method in conjunction with an optical heterodyne technique and a bandpass filter to produce a better signal-to-noise ratio. Although the SBC configuration is more complex than a single element, the independence of azimuth angle and the orientation of the linear polarized laser beam can enhance the sensitivity of the linear birefringence measurement.
© 2003 Optical Society of America
(040.2840) Detectors : Heterodyne
(120.3180) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Interferometry
(120.5050) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Phase measurement
(260.1440) Physical optics : Birefringence
Hui-Kang Teng, Chien Chou, Chia-Nan Chang, and Hsieh-Ting Wu, "Application of Phase-to-Amplitude Conversion Technique to Linear Birefringence Measurements," Appl. Opt. 42, 1798-1804 (2003)