Total Internal Reflection Thin-Film Achromatic Phase Shifter (TIRTF APS)

Application ID: 42511

The capability to alter the polarization of light is crucial to a wide variety of optical devices. For example, the polarization of light has a significant effect on the performance of optical isolators, attenuators, and beam splitters. By assigning a specific polarization to light, most notably linear or circular polarization, it is possible to substantially reduce glare in optical systems.

One of the most fundamental methods of manipulating polarization is wave retardation in which one component of the electric field is subjected to a phase delay, or retarded, relative to the orthogonal electric field component in a propagating beam of light. In this tutorial, the phenomenon of total internal reflection is used to design and model an achromatic phase shifter, or a wave retarder that exhibits nearly uniform phase delay over a wide spectral range. The phase retardation is affected by the presence of thin dielectric layers on the boundary between the two media.

In this benchmark model, phase retardation angles for single- and triple-layer coatings are computed and compared against published results. This principle can be used to design a total internal reflection thin-film achromatic phase shifter (TIRTF APS) with nearly uniform phase retardation over a wide spectral range.

This model example illustrates applications of this type that would nominally be built using the following products: