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Chapter 2.2.4 - Nonpolarizing Cube Beam Splitter

2.2.4.   Nonpolarizing Cube Beam Splitter

A simplified version of the previously described interferometer configuration where
the main beam splitter is nonpolarizing and only one phase plate is used is illustrated
in Figure 2.11. The light source is linearly polarized at 45o, which means that the x
and y components of the electric vector are in phase. The λ/8 phase plate is traversed
twice, sending back to the beam splitter circularly polarized light, which is equivalent
to saying that the x and y components have a phase difference equal to 90o.

FIGURE 2.11. Twyman Green interferometer with a nonpolarizing cube beam splitter.

As in the previous interferometer, the exiting light beams cannot interfere, since
one of them is linearly polarized at 45o and the other is circularly polarized. If an
analyzer is rotated in front of the interfering light beams coming out of the beam
splitter, the interference pattern appears, since only the components along the axis of
the polarizer, forming an angle θ with the x axis will pass through it. It can be proved
that the interference patterns transmitted with the analyzer at an angle θ and at an
angle θ + 90o are complementary. The phase depends on the angle of the analyzer,
but for this arrangement with a nonpolarizing beam splitter, the fringe contrast is
maximum only at the analyzer angles θ = ±45o.

 

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