Collection: Low-Order Waveplate

A low-order waveplate falls somewhere between a zero-order and a multi-order waveplate in terms of its design and performance characteristics. Here's a breakdown:

Key Features:

  • Phase Difference: Similar to multi-order waveplates, low-order waveplates introduce a phase difference that is an integer multiple (m) of the desired value (e.g., mλ/2 or mλ/4) plus an additional fractional retardation. This fractional component aims to achieve a net phase difference closer to the desired value (e.g., λ/2 or λ/4) compared to a pure multi-order waveplate.

  • Performance: Low-order waveplates offer a balance between cost and performance. They are generally less expensive than zero-order waveplates but provide better performance compared to pure multi-order waveplates in terms of:

    • Wavelength Sensitivity: While not as ideal as zero-order, they exhibit a reduced level of wavelength dependence compared to multi-order waveplates. Their performance remains acceptable for a broader range of wavelengths around the design wavelength.
    • Temperature Sensitivity: Low-order waveplates also show improved temperature stability compared to multi-order waveplates. Their phase difference exhibits less variation with moderate temperature fluctuations.

Applications:

Low-order waveplates are a suitable choice when:

  • Cost is a factor: They offer a more cost-effective alternative to zero-order waveplates when a balance between affordability and performance is desired.
  • Wavelength range is moderate: If the application uses a light source with a wavelength range that isn't extremely broad, the reduced wavelength sensitivity of low-order waveplates might be acceptable.
  • Temperature fluctuations are moderate: In scenarios where maintaining a perfectly stable temperature environment isn't feasible, the improved temperature stability of low-order waveplates compared to multi-order ones can be beneficial.

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