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Image contrast in polarization microscopy of magneto-optical disk data-storage media through birefringent plastic substrates

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Abstract

Using polarized-light microscopy, we have investigated the magnetic domains of perpendicularly magnetized media under several different conditions, including direct observation of the thin-film magnetic layer and observations through the glass or plastic substrates on which the magnetic film was deposited. The results show that the image contrast is reduced with an increasing numerical aperture of the objective lens. They also indicate that the polarization rotation caused by differences between the reflectivity–transmissivity of the p and s components of polarization deteriorate the magnetic image contrast. Furthermore, by comparing the image quality using the same objective lens on samples having different substrates, we found that the images obtained through plastic substrates are worse than those obtained through glass substrates. Birefringence of the plastic substrate is shown to be responsible for the additional degradation of the image contrast.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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