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In an optical system, a compensator is an arrangement for measuring the phase difference between two components of elliptically polarized light. This is accomplished by placing an anisotropic substance of known retardation, such as two quartz wedges mounted at right angles to each, in the beam path at a 45 degree angle to the vibration directions of the polarizer and the analyzer.

See also First-order red, Quarter-wave plate, and Quartz wedge.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Kompensator (Deut.); compensateur (Fr.);