Department of Physics and Astronomy: Publications and Other Research


Date of this Version



Rev. Sci. Instrum. 94, 103104 (2023); doi: 10.1063/5.0165103


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Unpolarized light can be an important tool in optical experiments. Producing it, however, can prove to be a challenge. Natural sources of light that are commonly thought of as unpolarized are, in fact, either weakly polarized or not practical sources of light in a laboratory setting. Standard, commercially available light depolarizers produce unpolarized light only after the polarization state of the light across the diameter of the output beam has been averaged. Locally, such beams are highly polarized. In this work, we report a simple, low cost light depolarizer capable of producing light with a total polarization of less than 1% for a 15-mm diameter output beam. Based upon diffuse scattering, the light transmitted through the depolarizer discussed here produces only small polarizations locally, with the total polarization for a 1.25-mm diameter area being <6%. The effects of the depolarizer on the transmitted beam’s intensity are also reported.

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