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Calcite Crystals

Calcite Crystals
Calcite Crystals Calcite Crystals Calcite Crystals Calcite Crystals Calcite Crystals

Calcite (CaCO3) crystal is a negative uniaxial crystal well-known for its high birefringence and transparence in broad region of spectrum. It is the ideal material for manufacturing various polarizers used in visible-IR range such as Glan-Taylor polarizers, Glan-Thompson polarizers and Glan laser polarizers. Recently, calcite plates/blocks are also widely used for time delay compensation between two orthogonally polarized ultrafast pulses.
In this page are birefringent calcite plates/blocks. For polarizing optics manufactured from Calcite crystal, please go to Polarizing Optics. For time delay compensenation with Calcite crystals, please visit Time Delay Compensators.

Calcite crystal wedges/prisms are also available. Please check the "Tech Info" tab below for details.

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Part No. Description Thickness Orientation Price Availability Add to Cart

Basic Properties of Calcite Crystal:

Transparency Range: 350 - 2300 nm

material-ca.GIF (10982 bytes)

Transmission Curve

Crystal Symmetry: Trigonal, R3c
Lattice Constants: a=b=4,994A, c=17,081A
Density:  2.71 g/cm3
Damage Threshold (10 ns, 10 Hz)
at 1064 nm - 100 MW/cm2
at 532 nm - 50 MW/cm2
Optical Homogeneity: Δn < 10-6/cm
Mohs Hardness: 3
Thermal Expansion Coefficients: αa = 4.9 x 10-6/K
c =  25.1 x 10-6/K
Linear Absorption Coefficients: α<0.01cm-1 from 400 to 700 nm

Sellmeier Equations: (λ in µm) :
  no2=2.69705 + 0.0192064/(λ
2=2.18438 + 0.0087309/(λ2-0.01018)-0.0024411λ2

 Wavelength (nm) no ne Birefringence
Walk-off Angle
 at 45°
1550 1.6336 1.4772 -0.156 5.73°
1064 1.6423 1.4797 -0.162 5.93°
800 1.6487 1.4821 -0.166 6.06°
632.8 1.6557 1.4852 -0.171 6.18°
532 1.6629 1.4886 -0.174 6.30°
400 1.6823 1.4974 -0.185 6.61°
355 1.6951 1.5032 -0.192 6.82°

* Calcite crystal is a natural mined material, not synthetic material.  Defects in a calcite crystal (a large and thick crystal in particular) can cause scattering and absorption within the bulk.

Specifications of Calcite Components:

Dimension Tolerance:

±0.05 mm for T<1.0 mm, ±0.1 mm for T>=1.0 mm

Wedge Angle Tolerance: 0.1°

Surface Quality:

20/10 Scratch and Dig

Optical Axis Orientation: +/-0.5°


<30 arc sec

Perpendicularity: <10 arc min


λ/4 @ 632.8 nm

Transmission Wavefront Distortion:

<λ/4 @ 632.8 nm

Common cut orientations of Calcite crystals:


Calcite crystals with a wedge angle (α) can be custom fabricated with the specified orientation of the optical axis. A paired or such prisms with the optical axes orthogonal to each other can be used to continuously adjust the phase shift or time delay between two orthogonally polarized pulses.  


Calcite crystals are uncoated unless the coating is specified.

The input and output faces can be AR coated with R < 0.25% at the specified wavelength(s). Please specify the coating and append to the part number, e.g.CAL5010-A-AR800/400 for the a-cut calcite crystal with the dual AR coating @ 800/400 nm.

Coating curve: AR800/400nm


For customer convenience and protection of crystals, crystals can be pre-mounted in a 1" (25.4 mm) anodized aluminum holder.  A standard 1" mirror mount may be conveniently used to tune the crystals for optimized birefringence or time delay. A rotation stage may be further used if a larger angular change is needed.

1.5" (38.1 mm) holders are available for crystals with large apertures.

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