Athermalized channeled spectropolarimetry using a biaxial KTN crystal

Channeled spectropolarimeters measure the polarization state of light as a function of wavelength. Typically, a channeled spectropolarimeter uses high-order retarders made of uniaxial crystal to amplitude modulate the measured spectrum with the Stokes polarization information. A primary limitation of these instruments is the thermal variability of the retarders, which necessitates frequent system recalibration. Past work has addressed this issue by implementing an athermalized retarder produced from two uniaxial crystals. However, reducing the complexity of an athermalized retarder is advantageous for minimizing size and weight requirements. In this Letter, a technique for producing a thermally stable channeled spectropolarimeter using biaxial retarders is presented. This technique preserves a constant phase over an appreciable temperature range. Proof-of-concept results from a KTP-based athermal partial channeled spectropolarimeter are presented from 500 to 750 nm for temperature changes up to 26°C. Spectropolarimetric reconstructions produced from this system vary by < 2.6% RMS when the retarder experiences a 13°C increase in temperature above 21°C ambient, < 5.2% for a 20°C increase, and < 6.7% for a 26°C increase.
J. Craven-Jones, B. M. Way, M. W. Kudenov, and J. A. Mercier, “Athermalized channeled spectropolarimetry using a biaxial potassium titanyl phosphate crystal,” Opt. Lett. 38, 1657–1659 (2013).