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Design of superachromatic quarter-wave retarders in a broad spectral range

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Abstract

A superachromatic quarter-wave retarder using an arbitrary number of waveplates in a broadband spectral range has been proposed. Their design is based on the optimization of a merit function, the achromatism degree (AcD), which represents a global behavior metric for the retardation. By means of this technique, the thickness and azimuth of each waveplate is determined. The achromatism degree is a measure of the distance between the overall retardation and a target retardation weighted by the spectrum of the incident light. We report on a particular case where all waveplates are made of quartz. As application examples, the design of a quarter-wave retarder using two, three, and four waveplates in the spectral ranges of 500–700 nm and 400–1000 nm was studied. The numerical results show that for these ranges, the best designs obtained present a maximum difference of 0.013° and 0.010° with respect to the target retardation, respectively. In addition, an analysis of their achromatic stability is presented. These results can be applied in the aerospace industry, spectroscopic ellipsometry, and spectrogoniometry, among others.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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