Anisotropic in-plane strain arises in quantum-well systems by design or unintentionally. We propose two methods of measuring the in-plane strain anisotropy based on the optical polarization anisotropy that arises with anisotropic in-plane strain. One method uses purely optical means to determine the strain anisotropy in quantum wells under a compressive strain that is spatially varying. A second approach, applicable to quantum wells under tensile strain or with strain that does not vary with position, requires the application of a uniaxial in-plane stress. Although the second method is experimentally more difficult, it allows analysis of systems that would otherwise be inaccessible.
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