Wave Plates

The wave plate is one of the most important optical components in modern optical systems. There are three types of plates, low-order wave plates, zero-order wave plates and achromatic wave plates.

Low-order wave plates are made of one piece of 90-degree cut Quartz, with the proper thickness to achieve the desired retardance. In most cases, the retardance is n times lambda + the desired retardance. Another case is a multi-wavelength wave plate, for example, one wave plate can act as two wave plates at different wavelengths. For example, one wave plate can act as a whole wave plate at 800nm, and half-wave plate at 400nm simultaneously.

Zero-order wave plates, in general, are made of two pieces of 90-degree cut Quartz, with their optical axis perpendicular to each other to compensate the extra retardance caused by each other. Based on the way these two pieces work together, there are three subtypes, optical cement, optical contact and air-spaced. Please contact our technical support team to choose the right plates for your applications.

Both Zero-order wave plates and Low-order wave plates are very sensitive to the target wavelength, but achromatic wave plates can work for a relative large wavelength range, for example, from 1000nm to 1500nm. In general, achromatic wave plates are made of two different materials, such as Quartz and MgF2. With proper thickness and alignment, these two materials can compensate the extra retardance in a wide range.

For more information, please feel free to contact the United Crystals' technical support team.

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