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At a given wavelength λ we determine all possible solution pairs (ϕ, ζ) of the incidence angle ϕ and the thickness ζ of a transparent thin film on an absorbing substrate that achieve a given unpolarized light reflectance Ru. The trajectory of the point that represents a solution pair in the ζ, ϕ plane depends on the optical properties of the film and substrate and on whether Ru is greater than or less than the normal-incidence reflectance -R0 of the bare substrate. When Ru > - R0, the specified reflectance is achieved over a limited range of ϕ. At the least possible incidence angle, the film thickness is ≈ ⅛ th wave. As an application we consider SiO2 films on Si detectors that produce Ru. = 0.75, 0.6667, and 0.50 at λ = 337 and 633 nm. If the first three detectors of the four-detector photopolarimeter (FDP) are coated to have these reflectance levels, with the reflectance diminishing in the direction of propagation of the light beam, and the last detector is antireflection coated (e.g., with a quarter-wave Si3N4 layer), equipartition of energy among the four detectors is accomplished for incident unpolarized light. Such a condition is desirable in the operation of the FDP. The ellipsometric parameters of the coated surfaces and the FDP instrument matrix are also calculated.

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Applied Optics


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