This paper reports the imaging characteristics of an optical system consisting of a lens made of a uniaxial birefringent crystal sandwiched between two linear polarizers under polychromatic input illumination. The optic axis of the birefringent crystal is perpendicular to the lens axis and for an initial investigation, the spectral profile of the input beam is considered to be uniform for all wavelengths. The study reveals that if the variation of the birefringence parameters of the device with the wavelength is less, a larger bandwidth may be used without considerably deviating from the imaging characteristics under strictly monochromatic illumination. The nonlinear variation of birefringence with wavelength results in an asymmetric axial irradiance distribution. This obviates an optimal operating wavelength as well as a proper choice of the lens material. It is found that no appreciable change in image quality under diffraction-limited condition results for an input beam having 632 nm operating wavelength and 60 nm bandwidth. Therefore, it may be feasible to use this system with a white light source in conjunction with a wavelength-selective filter. © 2006 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.