Measurement of birefringence for optical recording of disk substrates

Hong Fu, s. Sugaya, E. Erwin, M. Mansuripur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


We experimentally investigate the birefringence of bare and coated substrates for magneto-optical recording, using ellipsometry at wavelengths of 632.8 and 780 nm. The polarization rotation and ellipticity of reflected or transmitted light are measured for different incident angles and for different orientations of the incident linear polarization. The measured data are then fitted by the MULTILAYER computer program, which solves the Maxwell equations for a plane wave propagating in a multilayer structure. This approach makes it possible to determine, with high accuracy, the orientations of the principal axes of the substrate and the corresponding refractive indices. The results show that one of the principal axes is always along the substrate's normal direction, but the orientations of the in-plane principal axes can be much different from the radial and track directions. A special feature of the ellipsometers that were used is that a glass hemisphere is placed in contact with the substrate to eliminate refraction of the incident beam. This enables a maximum propagation angle of 70° (with respect to the normal) in the substrate and hence increases the measurement sensitivity. Certain anomalies have been observed, which we believe are associated with the variation of birefringence properties along the thickness direction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1938-1949
Number of pages12
JournalApplied optics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Apr 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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