Liquid-crystal variable retarders (LCVRs) are an emergent technology for space-based polarimeters, following its success as polarization modulators in ground-based polarimeters and ellipsometers. Wide-field double nematic LCVRs address the high angular sensitivity of nematic LCVRs at some voltage regimes. We present a work in which wide-field LCVRs were designed and built, which are suitable for wide-field-of-view instruments such as polarimetric coronagraphs. A detailed model of their angular acceptance was made, and we validated this technology for space environmental conditions, including a campaign studying the effects of gamma, proton irradiation, vibration and shock, thermo-vacuum and ultraviolet radiation. © 2011 Copyright Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE).
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