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Weak value amplified optical activity measurements

: Pfeifer, Marcel; Fischer, Peer

Postprint (1.1 MByte; PDF; )

Optics Express 19 (2011), No.17, pp.16508-16517
ISSN: 1094-4087
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IPM ()
refraction; birefringence; chiral media

We present a new form of optical activity measurement based on a modified weak value amplification scheme. It has recently been shown experimentally that the left- and right-circular polarization components refract with slightly different angles of refraction at a chiral interface causing a linearly polarized light beam to split into two. By introducing a polarization modulation that does not give rise to a change in the optical rotation it is possible to differentiate between the two circular polarization components even after post-selection with a linear polarizer. We show that such a modified weak value amplification measurement permits the sign of the splitting and thus the handedness of the optically active medium to be determined. Angular beam separations of Δθ &# 8764; 1 nanoradian, which corresponds to a circular birefringence of Δn∼1×10−9, could be measured with a relative error of less than 1%.