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Waveplates (retarders) are made from birefringent materials which introduce a phase difference between the fast and slow principal axis of the waveplate.The optical axis of waveplate is parallel to the face.Light incident normal to the surface will be split to components polarized parallel and perpendicular to the optical axis with different refractive index and velocity in this device.The difference in velocities gives rise to a phase shift which is called retardance.At any specific wavelength the phase retardance is governed by the thickness of Waveplates. The standard waveplates we provided include half waveplates and quarter waveplates,other custom waveplates can also be provided upon request.
When applying a linearly polarized beam to a half waveplate,it emerges as a linearly polarized beam but its polarization plane is rotated with respect to the polarization plane of the input beam. The rotation of the polarization plane is such that the angle between the input polarization and the output polarization is twice the angle between the input polarization and the waveplate's axis.When applying a circularly polarized beam, a clockwise circular polarization will transform into a counter-clockwise circular polarization and vice versa.Half waveplates are often used as continuously adjustable polarization rotators and as a variable ratio beamsplitter when used in conjunction with a polarization beamsplitter cube.
When applying a linearly polarized beam with the polarization plane aligned at 45deg to the waveplate's principal plane the output beam will be circularly polarized. Similarly when applying a circularly polarized beam to a λ/4 waveplate the output beam will be linearly polarized. When a quarter waveplate is double passed, i.e.by mirror reflection, it acts as a half waveplate and rotates the plane of polarization to a certain angle. Quarter waveplates are widely used in creating circular polarization from linear or linear polarization from circular, ellipsometry,optical pumping,suppressing unwanted reflection,optical isolation and etc.