Birefringent crystals are at the basis of various devices used in many fields, from high energy physics to biomedical imaging for cancer detection. Since crystals are the main elements of those devices, a great attention is paid on their quality and properties. Here, we present a methodology for the photoelastic analysis of birefringent crystals, based on a modified polariscope. Polariscopes using conoscopic observation are used to evaluate crystals residual stresses in a precise but time consuming way; in our methodology, the light beam shape, which impinges on the crystal surface, has been changed from a solid cone (conoscopy) to a wedge (sphenoscopy). Since the polarized and coherent light is focused on a line rather than on a spot, this allows a faster analysis which leads to the observation, at a glance, of a spatial distribution of stress along a line. Three samples of lead tungstate crystals have been observed using this technique, and the obtained results are compared with the conoscopic observation. The samples have been tested both in unloaded condition and in a loaded configuration induced by means of a four points bending device, which allows to induce a known stress distribution in the crystal. The obtained results confirm, in a reliable manner, the sensitivity of the methodology to the crystal structure and stress.
Photoelastic sphenoscopic analysis of crystals / Montalto, Luigi; Rinaldi, Daniele; Scalise, Lorenzo; Paone, Nicola; Davi', Fabrizio. - In: REVIEW OF SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENTS. - ISSN 0034-6748. - STAMPA. - 87:1(2016), pp. 015113-015120. [10.1063/1.4940196]