Two interferometric techniques for converting a linearly polarized laser beam into a radially polarized beam with uniform azimuthal intensity are described. The techniques are based on the linear combination of orthogonally polarized beams, which have tailored intensity and phase profiles. Linearly polarized beams with intensity profiles tailored using a modified laser or an apodization filter are combined in separate experiments to produce radially polarized light. A beam with an extinction ratio of −21.7 dB and azimuthal intensity variations of less than ±12% is produced using the modified laser output. The second technique uses circularly polarized light and a unique spiral phase delay plate to produce the required phase profile. When focused, a radially polarized beam has a net longitudinal field useful for particle acceleration and, perhaps, other unique applications.
© 1990 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: October 6, 1989
Published: May 20, 1990
Steve C. Tidwell, Dennis H. Ford, and Wayne D. Kimura, "Generating radially polarized beams interferometrically," Appl. Opt. 29, 2234-2239 (1990)