Birefringent crystals are widely used to fabricate optical passive devices such as optical isolator, optical circulator, polarization beam combiner/splitter, optical interleaver. The mostly used crystals are uniaxial, such as YVO4 and LiNbO3.
Birefringence in Uniaxial Crystal
Wave normal K is the normal of equalphase surface which describes the transmission of wave phase. Ray S is the normal of wave front which describes the transmission of optical energy. When light incidents on the air-crystal (uniaxial) interface, there are usually two refractive rays, o-ray So and e-ray Se. The direction of each ray depends on the direction of corresponding wave normal.