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Appl Opt. 1997 Mar 1;36(7):1566-72.

Achromatic quarter-wave plates using the dispersion of form birefringence.


We propose achromatic quarter-wave plates of a subwavelength grating structure. When the period of the grating structure is smaller than the wavelengths of the incident light, the structure is considered to be an optically anisotropic medium. The effective refractive indices strongly depend on the wavelengths, especially when the period is close to the wavelength. Using this feature, we can design a grating quarter-wave plate whose phase retardation is maintained at pi/2 for a wide wavelength range. A design method using the effective medium theory is described, and the wave plates designed were evaluated by numerical calculation with a rigorous electromagnetic grating theory. The calculation results led to the possibility of an achromatic quarter-wave plate whose retardation errors are smaller than 3 degrees for a +/-10% change in wavelength.

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