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Published May 1, 2009 | Published
Journal Article Open

Transmission wavefront shearing interferometry for photoelastic materials


A general analysis and experimental validation of transmission wavefront shearing interferometry for photoelastic materials are presented. These interferometers applied to optically isotropic materials produce a single interference pattern related to one phase term, but when applied to photoelastic materials, they produce the sum of two different interference patterns with phase terms that are the sum and difference, respectively, of two stress-related phase terms. The two stress-related phase terms may be separated using phase shifting and polarization optics. These concepts are experimentally demonstrated using coherent gradient sensing in full field for a compressed polycarbonate plate with a V-shaped notch with good agreement with theoretical data. The analysis may be applied to any wavefront shearing interferometer by modifying parameters describing the wavefront shearing distance.

Additional Information

© 2009 Optical Society of America. Received 6 November 2008; revised 16 March 2009; accepted 19 March 2009; posted 20 March 2009 (Doc. ID 103187); published 23 April 2009. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the National Science Foundation (NSF) (DMR # 0520565) through the Center for Science and Engineering of Materials (CSEM) at the California Institute of Technology, of the American Society for Engineering Education National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship Program, and of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. We thank Michael Mello for his insights and help during this project.

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