1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Optics: polarisation alignment

  1. Nov 6, 2006 #1
    With a combination of wave plates in the order [tex]\lambda[/tex]/2 - [tex]\lambda[/tex]/4 - [tex]\lambda[/tex]/2 it should be possible to achieve any polarisation. But I don't understand why: the first wave plate switches the polarisation direction, the second changes linear to circular polarisation and vice versa, and the last one switches it back again. How does this align the polarisation? :confused:
    Thank you for any answers, or hints, or links.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 6, 2006 #2

    Claude Bile

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

  4. Nov 8, 2006 #3
    Thank you. I calculated the problem now, but the solution is lengthy and I guess it'll be easier to just try it out with the accordant waveplates :rolleyes: :smile:

    I figured that I only need two waveplates to produce any desired linear polarisation. A quarter-wave plate will turn elliptical into linear polarisation, which can be aligned into the desired direction by the half-wave plate.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook