How to distinguish between circularly polarized light and unpolarised light when passed through rotating Nicol prism?

  • $\begingroup$ I think you will get a good response to your question if you include a bit more detail and maybe a diagram of your optical setup. $\endgroup$
    – boyfarrell
    Aug 20 '19 at 15:23
  • $\begingroup$ It is just a general doubt i had while going through this toic. $\endgroup$
    – Physics
    Aug 22 '19 at 10:10

Not all polarization analyzers are able to uniquely distinguish all types of polarization states.

In particular, linear polarizers (whether it is a film polarizer or a Nicol prism) are unable to distinguish between a circular polarization and unpolarized light.

If you want to distinguish between those two, then you will need to bring in a separate optical element, with the simplest possibility being a quarter-wave plate.


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