Document Type


Publication Date



A design procedure is presented for a near-optimal, single-layer-coated prism beam splitter that serves as the key optical element of the division-of-amplitude photopolarimeter (DOAP). For given film and substrate refractive indices, the angle of incidence and film thickness are selected such that the ellipsometric differential phase shifts in reflection and transmission Delta_r and Delta_t differ by ±pi/2, and the normalized determinant of the instrument matrix is maximized. The best results are obtained by using high-index films on low-index substrates. This is illustrated by examples of ZnS and GaP films on silica prisms in the visible and Si, Ge, and PbTe films on Irtran 1 substrates in the infrared. A 16° Si-prism DOAP beam splitter at the 1.55-µm lightwave-communications wavelength is also presented. It uses a 163-nm SiO2 coating on the entrance face to satisfy the optimum delta condition at 73° incidence, and the determinant of the instrument matrix is 78.23% of its theoretical maximum. The exit face of the Si prism is antireflection coated with a 208-nm Si3N4 film.

Journal Name

Applied Optics


This paper was published in Applied Optics and is made available as an electronic reprint with the permission of OSA. The paper can be found at the following URL on the OSA website: Systematic or multiple reproduction or distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.