Laser 2000

Waveplates and Retarders

Off-the-shelf or custom retardance, wavelength, materials (polymer, quartz, sapphire, magnesium fluoride & liquid crystal). Sizes up to 150 mm.

A retarder (or waveplate) is an optical device that resolves a light wave into two orthogonal linear polarisation components and produces a phase shift between them. The resulting light wave is generally of a different polarisation form. Ideally, retarders do not polarise, nor do they induce an intensity change in the light beam, they simply change its polarisation form.

For a complete overview of retarder (waveplate) principles, the different retarder types, materials used and how to practically use them in your experiments/products, please see our blog

Polarisation and Phase Manipulation with Retarders (or waveplates)

Retarders can be multiple-order (having several waves of retardance), compound zero-order, or true zero-order. True zero order retarders are often preferred for the most demanding applications requiring retardance stability with wavelength, temperature and angle of incidence. A true zero-order retarder is thin and must have a low birefringence to be manufactured easily.

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Polymer Retarder
Polymer waveplates for low power, wide angle and broadband applications.  Standard zero-order waveplates with a Quarter or Half wave retardance.  Precision, achromatic, super-achromat, dual-wavelength and wide angle options available
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Crystalline Waveplates for applications that require higher power/energy handling capabilities and superior UV and IR performance crystalline waveplates consisting of one or more plane-parallel plates of birefringent material is recommended.  Zero-order, compounded zero-order waveplates and quartz depolarisers
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Achromatic and super-achromatic waveplates (retarders).  Quarter, half wave or custom retardance available in polymer, bi-crystalline or Fresnel rhombs
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Our standard Liquid Crystal Variable Retarders (LVR) provide a minimum retardance range of ~30 nm to at least half-wave at the specified wavelength. With specific UV devices from 350-450nm and MWIR from 3.6 to 5.7 microns
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Our Liquid Crystal Polarization Rotator continuously rotates the polarization direction of a monochromatic, linearly polarized input beam. With three types of rotators based on parallel aligned nematic, twisted nematic and ferroelectric liquid crystals each providing different features in terms of contrast, speed, achromacity
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Founded in 1979 by Tom Baur a pioneer in the field, awarded the SPIE G.G.Stokes award in 2018, Meadowlark optics are polarisation experts, providing polarisation components, liquid-crystal devices, spatial light modulators and polarisation instrumentation.

In the twenty-first century, Meadowlark products help position customers worldwide to pioneer their own innovations. These include advances in liquid crystals with one-of-a-kind polarization controllers and the Liquid Crystal Stokes Polarimeter. In other areas, they measure there waveplate product line to subnanometer precision. One thousandth of a wave of retardance is our standard accuracy.

OptoSigma is a leading global manufacturer of Optical Systems, Optical Assemblies, Optical Coatings, Opto-Mechanics, Manual and Motion Control Stages, and a variety of complimentary Photonics products. With over 19,000 standard items, they provide a wide range of high-quality products and they also manufacture custom solutions to support various industries including Life Sciences, Bio-Medical, Semiconductor, Displays, Research, Telecommunications, Aerospace and Defense.

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