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A centrosymmetric multilayer stack of two transparent materials, which is embedded in a high-index prism, can function as a complete-transmission quarter-wave or half-wave retarder (QWR or HWR) under conditions of frustrated total internal reflection. The multilayer consists of a high-index center layer sandwiched between two identical low-index films with high-index–low-index bilayers repeated on both sides of the central trilayer, maintaining the symmetry of the entire stack and constituting a QWR ( Δt=90° or 270°) or HWR (Δt=180°) in transmission. A QWR design at wavelengthλ=1.55 μm is presented that employs an 11-layer stack of Si and SiO2 thin films, which is embedded in a GaP cube prism. The intensity transmittances for the p and s polarizations remain >99% and Δt deviates from 90° by <±3°over a 100 nm spectral bandwidth (1.5⩽λ⩽1.6 μm) , and by ⩽±7° over an internal field view of ±1°(incidence angle 44°⩽ϕ0⩽46° inside the prism). An HWR design at λ=1.55 μm employs seven layers of Si andSiO2 thin films embedded in a Si cube, has an average transmittance >93% , and Δt that differs from 180° by<±0.3° over a 100 nm bandwidth (1.5⩽λ⩽1.6 μm) and by <±17° over an internal field view of ±1° . The sensitivity of these devices to film-thickness errors is also considered.

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Journal of the Optical Society of America A


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