We develop the Jones and Mueller matrices for structures that allow control of the path length difference between two linear orthogonal polarizations and consider the effect of placing multiple devices in series. Specifically, we find that full polarization modulation (measurement of Stokes Q, U, and V) can be achieved by placing two such modulators in series if the relative angles of the beam-splitting grids with respect to the analyzer orientation are appropriately chosen. Such a device has several potential advantages over a spinning wave plate modulator for measuring astronomical polarization in the far infrared through millimeter: (i) The use of small, linear motions eliminates the need for cryogenic rotational bearings; (ii) the phase flexibility allows measurement of circular as well as linear polarization; and (iii) this architecture allows for both multiwavelength and broadband modulation. We also present initial laboratory results.
© 2006 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: October 11, 2005
Revised Manuscript: January 5, 2006
Manuscript Accepted: January 25, 2006
David T. Chuss, Edward J. Wollack, S. Harvey Moseley, and Giles Novak, "Interferometric polarization control," Appl. Opt. 45, 5107-5117 (2006)