A colorimetry-based retardation measurement (CBRM) method is presented. The specimen, between crossed polarizers, is illuminated with a white-light source. The retardation that is due to the birefringence of the specimen produces a white-light interference color. The <i>x</i>, <i>y</i> chromaticity coordinates of the color produced are measured with a spectrophotometer. The resulting <i>x</i>, <i>y</i> values are compared with a retardation <i>x</i>, <i>y</i> database that we obtained by measuring the retardation with an accurate Senarmont compensator and the <i>x</i>, <i>y</i> chromaticity values along the length of a 0–4-order quartz wedge. The technique was validated by the measurement of a variety of retardation plates. The retardation accuracy (mean error) of the CBRM method is shown to be 3.6 nm. The resolution is ±0.2 nm, and the measurement range is 5–2150 nm. The method substitutes for a polariscope and eliminates errors associated with quarter-wave plates. The CBRM method does not utilize any moving parts and thus is fast and can be automated.
© 2002 Optical Society of America
(120.0120) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology
(180.0180) Microscopy : Microscopy
(330.0330) Vision, color, and visual optics : Vision, color, and visual optics
Carole C. Montarou, Thomas K. Gaylord, Ricardo A. Villalaz, and Elias N. Glytsis, "Colorimetry-Based Retardation Measurement Method with White-Light Interference," Appl. Opt. 41, 5290-5297 (2002)