Polarizer-Compensator Combination as a Controlled Polarization Filter

Initializing live version
Download to Desktop

Requires a Wolfram Notebook System

Interact on desktop, mobile and cloud with the free Wolfram Player or other Wolfram Language products.

When an isotropically polarized light beam is passed through a linear polarizer followed by a quarter-wave compensator, the polarization of the emergent light can be made to assume all possible states (represented by the points in the complex plane) by rotating the polarizer and compensator around the beam axis. With regard to this arrangement the complex polarization variable is a function of and , , where and represent the azimuths of the transmission axis of the polarizer and the fast axis of the compensator, respectively, measured from the axis (counterclockwise, looking into the beam) of the space-fixed Cartesian coordinate system whose axis is along the direction of propagation of the incident light beam.


The figure shows a collective view of the constant-, variable- contours for the special case when the polarizer is set at a fixed azimuth and the quarter-wave compensator is rotated.


Contributed by: Siva Perla (March 2011)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA



R. Azzam and N. Bashara, Ellipsometry and Polarized Light, Amsterdam: North Holland, 2003.

Feedback (field required)
Email (field required) Name
Occupation Organization
Note: Your message & contact information may be shared with the author of any specific Demonstration for which you give feedback.