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An X-ray double phase retarder system composed of two transmission-type phase retarders is proposed and developed in order to compensate for off-axis aberration (phase-shift inhomogeneity due to angular divergence of incident X-rays). The scattering planes of the two phase retarders are set to be inclined by 45° with respect to the plane of incident polarization, but the two phase retarders give Bragg reflections in opposite directions. By using this X-ray optical system, vertically polarized X-rays with a 0.99 degree of linear polarization were obtained from horizontally polarized synchrotron radiation with a horizontal beam divergence of 20 arcsec (0.1 mrad). This value is favorably compared with the value of 0.87 which was obtained using a conventional single phase retarder of identical total thickness, 627 µm. The comparison was made at the nickel K-absorption edge (8333 eV) with the condition that 47% of incident X-rays were transmitted through the two phase retarder crystals. The crystals were (100)-oriented diamond plates giving asymmetric 111 Laue reflections.

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