Liquid Crystal Polarization Rotator

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Liquid Crystal Polarization Rotator

Our Liquid Crystal Polarization Rotator (LPR) continuously rotates the polarization orientation of a monochromatic, linearly polarized input beam. Our LPR consists of a compensated Liquid Crystal Variable Retarder combined with a zero-order polymer quarter-wave retarder. The fast axis of the liquid crystal variable retarder is oriented at 45° to the slow axis of the quarter-wave retarder and the linearly polarized input must be parallel to the quarter-wave retarder slow axis. Polarization rotation is achieved by electrically controlling the retardance of the Liquid Crystal Variable Retarder, eliminating any mechanical motion.

A quarter-wave retarder converts elliptical polarization formed by the Liquid Crystal Variable Retarder to linear polarization. The rotation angle is equal to one-half the retardance change from the Liquid Crystal Variable Retarder.

Response time of the LPR depends upon the desired amount of rotation. Small rotations have a longer response time because of a smaller change in the electric field strength.

Polarization purity is defined as the ratio of the rotated linear component to the orthogonal component and, on average, polarization purity (or extinction ratio) is better than 150:1.

We provide test data including the required voltages corresponding to polarization orientations, in 10° increments, from approximately -40° to approximately 140° rotation. These measurements are taken at ambient temperature for your specified wavelength.

Standard Liquid Crystal Polarization Rotators are supplied without an input polarizer. Input polarization direction must be precisely aligned for optimum performance.

  • High power capability
  • High polarization purity
  • Computer control capability 
  • 180 degree polarization rotation
  • Continuous rotation of linearly polarized light


Specifications - Liquid Crystal Polarization Rotator
Retarder Material Nematic liquid crystal with Birefringent polymer
Substrate Material Optical quality synthetic fused silica
Wavelength 450 -1800 nm (specify)
Polarization Rotation 180˚ 
Polarization Purity 150:1 average
Transmittance > 92% with polarized input
Transmitted Wavefront Distortion n ≤ λ/4
Surface Quality (scratch-dig) 40-20
Beam Deviation ≤ 2 arc-min
Reflectance (per surface) ≤ 0.5% at normal incidence
Operating Temperature 0˚C to +50˚C
Laser Damage Threshold 500 W/cm2, CW
300 mJ/cm2, 10 ns, visible


Ordering Information - Liquid Crystal Polarization Rotator
in. [mm]
± 0.005 in.
[± 0.13 mm]
in. [mm]
Part Number
Please specify operating wavelength λ in nanomaters when placing your order.
Custom sizes are available
Please contact our Sales Department for a custom quote.