Achromatic athermalized retarder fabrication

Anna Britt Mahler, Stephen McClain, Russell Chipman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


A method for fabricating an achromatic, athermalized quarter-wave retarder is presented that involves monitoring retardance during polishing. A design specified by thicknesses alone is unlikely to meet specification due to uncertainties in birefringence. This method facilitates successful fabrication to a retardance specification despite these uncertainties. A retarder made from sapphire, MgF2, and quartz was designed, fabricated, and its performance validated for the 0.470 to 0.865 μm wavelength region. Its specifications are as follows: at wavebands centered at 0.470, 0.660, and 0.865 μm the band-averaged retardance should be 90° ± 10° for all fields and retardance should change less than 0.1° for a 1° change in temperature. Retarder fabrication accommodated birefringence and thickness uncertainties via the following steps. The first plate was polished to a target thickness. The retardance spectrum of the first plate was then measured and used to determine a retardance target for the second plate. The retardance spectrum of the combined first and second plates was then used to specify a retardance target for the third plate. The retardance spectrum of the three plates in combination was then used to determine when the final thickness of the third plate was reached.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)755-765
Number of pages11
JournalApplied optics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 10 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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