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Waveplates, also known as Retarders, are used to transmit light while modifying its polarization state without attenuating, deviating, or displacing the beam. Waveplates are commonly used to rotate linear polarization or transforming linear polarization into circular polarization, and can be used in optical isolators. Retarders are designed to operate with light that have existing polarization states. Using a Waveplate with unpolarized light will not have any impact on its polarization state and the light will remain unpolarized. Waveplates consist of birefringent, crystalline or polymer materials that create a phase shift between the polarization components.
Edmund Optics offers a variety of Waveplates with crystalline or polymer materials, including multiple order, zero order, or achromatic waveplates. Polymer Waveplates offer superior performance over a wider range of incidence angles. Multiple order Waveplates are ideal for use with monochromatic light that deviates less than 1% of the Waveplate’s design wavelength. Zero order Retarders offer high performance over wider wavelength or temperature ranges. Achromatic Waveplates offer the most constant performance over the widest wavelength or temperature ranges.