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The optic tensor configurations (director profiles) in surface stabilized ferroelectric liquid crystal cells with homeotropic alignment are considerably simpler than in cells with the more conventional homogeneous alignment and, with the exception of thin surface regions, are essentially that of an unconstrained or “free” FLC sample. Previously the half-leaky guided mode (HLGM) technique, in which angle dependent reflectivity only is measured, has been used to characterize the director profile in such cells. The extended HLGM technique reported in this paper enables detection of both angle dependent reflectivity and transmissivity data. Combined analysis of these features significantly enhances the sensitivity of the original HLGM technique enabling the director profile in cells with homeotropic alignment to be explored in even greater detail. © 2001 American Institute of Physics.