Waveplates, also known as retardation plates or phase shifters, take advantage of the birefringence phenomena to create a phase shift in the propagating light without deviating or splitting the beam.

Solaris Optics offers manufacturing of waveplates with leading process technology at its Warsaw, Poland production facility.

Waveplates are made from birefringent materials which have different refractive index between two orthogonal axes. As such, these materials have a unique capability to produce a velocity shift between the ordinary and extraordinary light, meaning a light polarized along the principal axes having high and low refractive index. This creates a phase difference Γ, called the retardance, proportional to the plate thickness d:

Γ = [2 π (ne − no) d] / λ
where : λ — wavelength

Waveplates can be classified into two major categories depending on the induced phase difference: quarter- and half-waveplate, designed to produce phase difference by the order of λ/4 or λ/2 respectively. For each category, there can be also a zero- or multi-order plate.

Retardation plates are used for manipulating and analysis of different states of light polarization. Quarter-wave can change polarization from linear to elliptical or circular (and vice versa) and are especially useful in construction of optical isolators and electrooptic modulators. Half-wave plates are commonly used as polarization rotators thanks to their ability to change the angle of linear polarization depending on the position of plate optical axis.

Solaris Optics produces retardation plates of zero- and multiple-order from crystalline quartz and MgF2 using state-of-art equipment and technology. We encourage to direct any inquiries about custom manufacturing of waveplates to our team .