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An elastic thin-film optical waveguide may be caused to alter the polarization state of a guided optical wave by applying stress to the elastic waveguide.
English (United States)
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Polarization Optical Devices in Rubber Waveguides
An elastic thin-film optical waveguide may be caused to alter the polarization
state of a guided optical wave by applying stress to the elastic waveguide.
Room temperature vulcanizing (RTV) methylsiloxane silicone rubbers, for
example, may be fabricated in thin-film optical waveguides. If the film is
isotropic, then TE (transverse electric) and TM (transverse magnetic) polarized
modes will propagate with similar velocities. Hence, a state of polarization
launched into such a guide will be maintained, at least over a short distance and
in the absence of large intermode scattering. Application of a stress to such a
guide produces a strain which alters the refractive index. A controlled stress may
thus be used to produce a controlled optical anisotropy. The film would then
behave as a uniaxial (or lower symmetry) crystal, and an input state of
polarization would, in general, evolve into other states. A very simple adjustable
thin-film wave plate could thus be fabricated which is the thin-film analogue to the
bulk wave De Forest Palmer compensator (H.G. Jerrard, 38 J. Opt. Soc. Am. 35
A quarter wave plate is illustrated. A linearly polarized input wave 10 is
focussed by lens 12 into an RTV film 14 supported by a substrate 16. A force f
applied to pressure plate 18 causes the output wave 20 (which may be
collimated by a lens 22) to become left circularly polarized.