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I was reading about a phenomenon called circular dichroism, in which LCP(left circularly polarized) and RCP(right circularly polarized) light are absorbed to different extents. Hence, when linearly polarized light(LCP+RCP with some phase between them) is passed though such a material, the output beam is elliptically polarized.

Can this elliptically polarized beam be "split up" physically, into constituent left and right circularly polarized beams. What I am picturing is a plate the lets only the LCP pass through or vice-versa.

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  • $\begingroup$ For your interest: www.itos.de/en/itos-polarizers/circular-polarizers/ $\endgroup$ – Kay Jul 10 '17 at 21:55
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One way to do it is to pass the beam through a quarter-wave plate, then through a traditional beam splitter that separates horizontal from vertical polarization, then through a quarter-wave plate again.

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  • $\begingroup$ Pretty much. For an everyday instance (minus the second QWP), take a pair of modern 3D cinema glasses. (More details on this site here.) $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Apr 12 '17 at 6:40

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