The passage of a linearly polarized beam through a chiral material and a phase retarder will induce a phase difference between the s and p polarizations of the beam. In this study, a phase quadrature interferometer is designed to measure the phase difference variation proportional to the optical rotation. The proportionality constant (or measurement sensitivity) can be greatly enhanced by setting the retardation of the phase retarder close to 0° or 180°. The experimental results demonstrate that with our system we can obtain a measurement resolution for the rotational angle of better than 3.5° × 10-4. This method has several advantages such as a simple optical setup, easier operation in real time, and low cost. In addition, due to the common-path arrangement, surrounding noise can be eliminated.
- Chiral medium
- Optical rotation angle
- Phase quadrature interferometry