Laser Polarization components are utilized for various polarization needs. Laser Polarizers are used to isolate specific polarizations of light or to convert unpolarized light to polarized light in a variety of laser applications. Laser Polarizers use a range of substrates, coatings, or a combination of the two to transmit a specific single polarization state. Laser Polarization components are used to modulate and control polarization in many applications including simple intensity control, chemical analysis, and optical isolation.
Edmund Optics offers a wide range of Laser Polarization components including Glan-Laser Polarizers, Glan-Thompson Polarizers, and Glan-Taylor Polarizers, and Waveplate Retarders. Specialized polarizers are also available, including Wollaston Polarizers and Fresnel Rhomb Retarders. Edmund Optics additionally offers several varieties of Depolarizers to convert polarized light into random light.
Polarization refers to the direction with which the electric field of light waves oscillate, which is perpendicular to the direction of propagation. Light waves can be linearly, circularly, elliptically, or randomly polarized. For more information about polarization read Introduction to Polarization.
Laser sources may be polarized due to anisotropy (a material property that is different in different directions) in the laser gain material, directionally dependent polarization losses in the laser resonator, or the use of birefringent optical materials. Some laser sources are unpolarized (e.g. fiber lasers). The polarization state of a laser can also be used to reduce unwanted and potentially dangerous reflection from high-power sources as some materials reflect or absorb light in certain polarizations states over others.
Many laser applications including some interferometry, optical amplification and modulation, nonlinear frequency conversion, and incoherent and coherent polarization beam combining (polarization coupling), depend on the state of polarization in order to function.