About Us

The world’s leading source for polarization measurement technology.

Hinds Instruments delivers technology for polarization measurement. We innovate, develop, manufacture, and distribute polarization measurement instrumentation for research and industry. Our product solutions capitalize on the ultra-high sensitivity of photoelastic modulator technology to deliver advanced and typically real-time polarization analysis.

Our customers’ solution requirements are driven by research, metrology, and industrial environments and extend across a range of applications including birefringence, dichroism, both Stokes and Mueller polarimetry, optical rotation and others. Founded in 1971 and located in a suburb of Portland, Oregon, we have grown to become the world’s leading source for polarization measurement technology.

Hinds Instruments Office

R&D 100 2008 Hinds Instruments

From the invention of the PEM to the development of a broad spectrum of polarization measurement technology.

Professor James Kemp, physicist at the University of Oregon, developed photoelastic modulators (PEMs) in the late 1960s for the advanced measurement of a wide range of polarization properties important to academic and industry researchers and professionals worldwide. Professor Kemp used the PEM to measure the polarization of light emitted from stars, thereby proving the existence of magnetic “white dwarf” stars.

This discovery provided the evidence used to award the Nobel Prize in physics to an astronomer at the University of Chicago (Chandraheskar) who had predicted the existence of such stars more than 40 years earlier.

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Building on Dr. Kemp’s frequently-cited and award-winning astrophysical work, Hinds Instruments developed and sold the first commercial versions of the PEM in the early 1970s.

Over the next couple of decades, the company developed a body of important PEM IP and technology, including a broad PEM product line.

Significant contributions were made that have enabled notable advances in basic scientific research and industry, including optical lithography, CD spectroscopy, tokamak plasma monitoring, and many others. More recently, the company’s scientists and engineers have extended the powerful utility of polarization modulation to systems dedicated to specific applications, including Exicor® birefringence measurement for flat panel display and other precision optics, polarization extinction ratio systems, 2-MGEM Ellipsometry systems for nuclear fuel OPTAF measurement, complete Mueller matrix measurement systems, and more. During the same period, the company has introduced a series of instruments that benefit both PEM and stand-alone applications, including high sensitivity photodiode and avalanche photodiode detectors, dual phase analog lock-in amplifiers, and more.

Columbia Weather Systems

Former Subsidiaries

Columbia Weather Systems (CWS) is a former subsidiary of Hinds Instruments, Inc. which began manufacturing Capricorn weather stations in the early 1980s. In 2014, Hinds spun out the weather station division into a separate company with a different ownership group. Headquartered in Hillsboro, Oregon, CWS now manufactures the Orion, Magellan, and Capricorn lines of weather stations, distributing these systems around the world. Key markets include professionals in public safety, military, government and industry.

Our pledge to our customers.

  • We will quote delivery dates and product specifications based on documented performance, and will then strive to exceed your expectations by delivering superior performance.
  • We will make best efforts to design and independently test our products so you can be confident they are safe to use and will operate reliably far beyond the warranty period.
  • We will select dealers based on their ability to provide superior customer service both before and after the sale, and will invest regularly to keep their training up to date.
  • We will calibrate, before shipment, the product you have ordered with more than one method whenever possible, since independent standards (e.g. NIST certifications) have not been established for the parameters and at the sensitivity levels at which our instrumentation typically performs.
  • We will ship only new products, unless you request otherwise. We will remain accessible to you and will communicate clearly, accurately and – to the best of our ability – promptly.
  • We will make after sale support a top priority.
  • We will not mis-use our relationships with our customers.
  • We will continue to invest in our technology so we can remain a robust, relevant partner to support you in the future, whether with your existing purchase or with new solutions.
  • We will remain focused on your success and will treat each of our team members with respect so we can remain focused on serving you to the best of our ability.

Get A Quote for Systems & Components

Working together, we can discuss the suitability of our technology for your application, including a custom configuration of our base systems if needed.

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CLEO 2024

The industry's leading event on laser science, the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO) is the premier international forum for scientific and technical optics.

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Project ’71

Over 50 years ago, Hinds Instruments was founded and thus began what has become an incredible journey.

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