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Birefringence Imaging System

  • Measurements of Retardance and Azimuth
    (Fast Axis Orientation) in Flat Samples
  • Measure Ø20 mm Field of View in <15 s
  • Includes Three Sample Holders for
    Ø0.5", Ø1", and 2" x 2" Optics


With Included Laptop

Screenshot of the 2D Measurement Display Mode Using the LCC7201's Software

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Light Source Wavelengtha 633 nm
Retardance Measurement Range Standard Retardance Range: 0 to 316 nm
Low Retardance Range: 0 to 100 nm
Azimuth Measurement Range ±90°
Retardance Measurement Accuracy Standard Retardance Range: <±10 nm
Low Retardance Range: <±1 nm
Azimuth Measurement Accuracy Standard Retardance Range: <±3°
Low Retardance Range: <±1°
Measurement Rateb <15 s
Field of View Ø20 mm
Spatial Resolution 9.77 μm
Interfaces USB 2.0 and Gigabit Ethernet
Camera Resolution 2048 x 2048 Pixels
Dimensions 500.0 mm (D) x 360.0 mm (W) x 672.0 mm (H)
Weight 26 kg (57.3 lbs)
Operating Temperature 0 to 40 °C
Storage Temperature -15 to 65 °C
Included Accessories Laptop PC, Sample Holders,
Birefringent Resolution Target (Item # R2L2S1B)
  • Customizable upon request. Contact Tech Support for details.
  • Performance with Default Camera Settings


  • Built-In 633 nm Light Source
  • Measures Sample Retardance up to a Half-Wave (316 nm) and Azimuths up to ±90°
  • Ø20 mm Field of View
  • Complete Imaging System Includes Software and Laptop
  • Compatible with MLS203-1 XY Scanning Stage
  • Custom Operating Wavelengths by Contacting Tech Support

Thorlabs’ LCC7201 Birefringence Imaging System is designed for use in academic research, medical diagnostics, industrial manufacturing, and product quality assurance; for sample results please see the Applications tab. It measures the retardance and azimuths of flat, planar samples, such as crystals and liquid crystal devices, and is particularly well-suited for characterizing stress-induced birefringence. Since it is based on a liquid crystal device, there is no internal mechanical movement, leading to very stable, vibration-free operation.

The LCC7201 is designed to operate at a wavelength of 633 nm, and provides a Ø20 mm field of view. This system measures retardance up to a half-wave (316 nm) and azimuths up to ±90°. The operation wavelength can be customized to a wavelength from 405 nm to 810 nm. To customize this operational wavelength, please contact Tech Support

For sample viewing, the LCC7201 includes Thorlabs' MLS203P2 sample holder. It also includes three sample holder inserts that are sized to hold Ø0.5”, Ø1”, and 2” x 2” optics. The MLS203P2 provides manual adjustment in the X direction, which is useful for samples larger than the Ø20 mm field of view. Additionally, larger samples can be scanned by upgrading the system with Thorlabs' MLS203-1 XY Scanning Stage, which provides manual and motorized adjustment in both the X and Y directions. The specifications of the LCC7201 are outlined in the table to the right.

Included with purchase is a laptop with Windows® operating system and the software pre-installed. To view additional information about this system's software features and sample measurement results, please refer to the Software tab above.


Version 1.3.0

Click the button below to visit the LCC7201 Birefringence Imaging System software page.

Software Download

The LCC7201 system includes a Windows®-based software package that contains everything needed for system control and data acquisition. Please click the Software button to the right to download the latest software for this system.


  • Standard and Low Noise Modes for Retardance Measurements
  • Selectable Region of Interest (ROI)
  • Customizable Measurement Rate
  • Adjustable Dynamic Camera Settings (Gain, Exposure Time, Black Levels)
  • Overexposure Detection
  • Auto Adjustment of Light Source Level
  • 1D, 2D, and 3D Measurement Result Displays
  • Data Output in Binary and CSV Formats

The LCC7201 software includes two modes, Standard Mode and Low-Noise Mode, to measure a sample's retardance. Standard Mode provides a higher measurement rate with a lower signal-to-noise ratio, while Low Noise Mode provides a lower measurement rate with a higher signal-to-noise ratio. An exposure time of 30 ms is set as the default, which allows a measurement to be finished within 15 seconds in Standard Mode and 3 minutes in Low Noise Mode.

These two modes provide two ranges of measurement accuracy, Standard Retardance Range and Low Retardance Range. Standard Retardance provides a measurement accuracy of <±10 nm for retardances in the 0 to 316 nm range, and <±3° for azimuths over the entire measurement range. Low Retardance Range will improve the measurement accuracy of <±1 nm for retardances in the 0 to 100 nm range, and
 <±1° for azimuths over the entire measurement range. The mimimum exposure time is 1 ms, and the maximum exposure time is 10000 ms.

Below are screenshots from the included user interface, showing the different measurement display modes available. The 1D, 2D, and 3D views are all of an m=1, zero-order vortex half-wave plate.

Click to Enlarge
Camera Preview Showing Included Test Target

Application Image Gallery

Inspection of Thorlabs' Quartz Quarter-Wave Plate After LIDT Test

Click to Enlarge

Wave Plate Retardance in 3D View
Quartz Quarter-Wave Plate in 2D View
Click to Enlarge

Wave Plate Retardance in 2D View

Inspection of Thorlabs' Patterned Liquid Crystal Polymer Retarders with Fast-Axis Azimuth Distribution

Click to Enlarge

Thorlabs' m = 1 LCP Vortex Retarder Azimuth and Retardance in 2D View
LCP Vortex Retarder Plate in 2D View
Click to Enlarge

Thorlabs' m = 2 Vortex Retarder Azimuth and Retardance in 2D View

Inspection of Stress- and Strain-Induced Birefringence in Optical Fiber

Optical Fiber in Preview
Click to Enlarge

Optical Fiber in Preview
Fiber Birefringence in 2D View
Click to Enlarge

Optical Fiber Retardance in 2D View

Analysis of Stress- and Strain-Induced Birefringence for Materials Research and Product Development

Plastic Ruler in Preview
Click to Enlarge

Plastic Ruler in Preview
Fiber Birefringence in 2D View
Click to Enlarge

Plastic Ruler Retardance in 2D View

Visualize Cell Birefringence for Cell Behavior Analysis or Cell Screening

Plastic Ruler in Preview
Click to Enlarge

Xylophyta Dicotyledon T.S. in Preview
Fiber Birefringence in 2D View
Click to Enlarge

Xylophyta Dicotyledon T.S. Stem in 2D View

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Birefringence Imaging System

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