Birefringence measurement by use of digital holographic microscopy: Examples with fiber optics and concrete samples

Tristan Colomb*, Etienne Cuche, Christian Depeursinge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


In this paper, we present a modified transmission digital holographic microscope that can be used to image the state of polarization. The resulting device, called polarization digital holographic microscope (Pol-DHM), records in off-axis geometry the interference between two orthogonally polarized reference waves and the object wave transmitted by a microscopic sample and magnified by a microscope objective. A CCD camera records the resulting hologram. Using a single hologram, we reconstruct separately the amplitude and phase of two wave fronts, which are used to represent the object wave's state of polarization, represented by the azimuth and the phase difference associated to the polarization ellipse. The proposed method is illustrated with two applications. The first application is to use a 10-times magnification microscope objective to measure the birefringence induced by internal stresses in transparent materials such as a bended optical fiber. The second application is to use a 20-times microscope objective to image the state of polarization of a thin concrete sample and reveals birefringent properties of the different aggregates found in the concrete.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number138
Pages (from-to)1022-1027
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Volume5856 PART II
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes
EventOptical Measurement Systems for Industrial Inspection IV - Munich, Germany
Duration: Jun 13 2005Jun 17 2005


  • Birefringence
  • Computer holography
  • Microscopy
  • Polarization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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