Measurements of linear diattenuation and linear retardance spectra with a rotating sample spectropolarimeter

David B. Chenault, Russell A. Chipman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


A technique to measure linear diattenuation and retardance spectra of infrared materials in transmission is described. A sample is rotated between two stationary linear polarizers in the sample compartment of a Fourier transform infrared spectrometer. The intensity modulation that results from the rotation of the sample is Fourier analyzed, and the linear diattenuation and linear retardance of the sample are calculated from the Fourier series coefficients for each wavelength. The advantages of this technique include immunity of the measurement to instrumental polarization, to circular diattenuation, and to circular retardance. The rotating sample polarimeter does not require retarders. Compensation for systematic errors from polarizers with diattenuation less than one is included in the data reduction. This technique is useful for the calibration of retarders and polarizers and hence for the bootstrap calibration of more elaborate polarimeters such as Mueller matrix polarimeters. We present as an example of the technique the caliration spectra 3-14 μm of an infrared quasi-achromatic retarder whose fast axis orientation oscillates with wavelength.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3513-3519
Number of pages7
JournalApplied optics
Issue number19
StatePublished - Jul 1993


  • Birefringence
  • Ellipsometry
  • Polarimetry
  • Polarization
  • Spectropolarimetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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