Why diffractive retarders are not in common use

Russell A Chipman, Wai Sze T Lam, Michihisa Onishi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


Diffractive retarders fabricated from gratings in isotropic materials are analyzed by rigorous coupled wave analysis. Calculations show it is difficult to obtain substantial retardance with isotropic phase gratings. Even for an aspect ratio of two, diffractive retarders have a small retardance, <λ/12. Thus it is generally impractical to fabricate quarter wave retarders, much less half wave retarders in plastic or molded glass for example. The dispersion of these gratings is compared to the conventional materials used in the majority of retarders and is found to be very similar. Thus these gratings add little in terms of helping to achromatize retarders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISBN (Print)9781628417791
StatePublished - 2015
EventPolarization Science and Remote Sensing VII - San Diego, United States
Duration: Aug 11 2015Aug 12 2015


OtherPolarization Science and Remote Sensing VII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego


  • diffractive optical elements
  • Polarization
  • retarders
  • rigorous coupled wave analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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