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Spie Press Book

Field Guide to Polarization
Author(s): Edward Collett
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Book Description

The polarization of light is one of the most remarkable phenomena in nature and has led to numerous discoveries and applications. The nature and mathematical formulation of unpolarized light and partially polarized light were not readily forthcoming until the 1950s, when questions about polarized light and the mathematical tools to deal with it began to be addressed in earnest. As a result, there is a very good understanding of polarized light today.

The primary objective of this Field Guide is to provide an introduction to the developments in polarized light that have taken place over the past half-century and present the most salient topics of the subject matter such as Mueller matrices, Stokes polarization parameters, and Jones matrices.


Book Details

Date Published: 26 September 2005
Pages: 148
ISBN: 9780819458681
Volume: FG05
Errata

Table of Contents
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Glossary x
The Foundations of Polarized Light 1
The Ray Theory of Light 1
The Polarization of Light 2
Malus's Law 3
Brewster's Law 4
The Wave Theory of Light 5
Fresnel's Wave Theory 5
The Polarization Ellipse 7
Degenerate Polarization States 8
The Parameters of the Polarization Ellipse 9
The Poincaré Sphere 10
Degenerate States on the Poincaré Sphere 11
The Observables of Polarized Light 12
The Stokes Polarization Parameters 12
Stokes Parameter Relations 14
Classical Measurement of the Stokes Parameters 16
The Mueller Matrices for Polarizing Components 17
Polarizers 18
Waveplates 20
Rotators 22
Mueller Matrices for Rotated Components 23
Mueller Matrix Applications-Malus's Law 25
Mueller Matrix Applications-The Optical Shutter 26
Mueller Matrix Applications-Stokes Parameters 27
The Observable Polarization Sphere 28
The Observable Polarization Sphere 28
Plotting the Quarter-Wave Plate on the OPS 32
The Rotating Quarter-Wave Plate 34
The Babinet-Soleil Compensator 35
Linear and Circular Polarizers 36
The Generation of Elliptically Polarized Light 37
Measurement Methods of the Stokes Parameters 38
The Rotating Quarter-Wave Plate Measurement 39
Birefringent Crystals and Wave Plates 40
Multiple and Zero-Order Wave Plates 41
Mueller Matrices for Reflection and Transmission 42
Mueller Matrices for Reflection and Transmission 42
Reflection and Transmission Stokes Parameters 43
Reflection and Transmission Mueller Matrices 47
Total Internal Reflection 48
The Fresnel Rhomb 49
Single and Multiple Dielectric Plates 50
Pile of Polarizing Dielectric Plates 52
Fresnel's Reflection and Transmission Coefficients 55
Other Polarization Matrix Calculi 57
The Jones Matrix Calculus 57
Wolf's Coherency Matrix Calculus 62
Optical Activity and Optical Rotation 63
Optical Activity and Optical Rotation 63
Faraday Rotation 64
Optical Isolators 66
Depolarizers 72
Waveplate Depolarizers 72
The Lyot Crystal Depolarizer 74
Polarizing Materials 75
Polarizers 75
Polarizing Prisms 76
Characterizing Commercial Polarizers 78
Characterizing Polarizer Pairs 79
The Transmittance of Polarizers 80
The Contrast Ratio of Polarizers 81
Wave Plate Materials 82
Superposition and Decomposition of Polarized Beams 83
Incoherent Superposition and Decomposition 83
Incoherent Decomposition-Ellipses 84
Coherent Superposition and Decomposition 85
The Electro-Optical Effect 86
The Electro-Optical Effect - Modulators 86
The Pockels Cell 88
Refractive Index Measurements 89
Normal Incidence Refractive Index Measurement 89
The Brewster Angle Measurement 90
The Incident 45o Method 95
The Classical Radiation Field 94
Maxwell's Equations 94
The Radiation Equation and the Stokes Parameters 95
The Linear Oscillating Bound Charge 96
The Randomly Oscillating Bound Charge 97
A Charge Moving in a Circle 98
A Charge Moving in a Magnetic Field 99
The Classical Zeeman Effect 101
Optical Scattering 105
Thomson Scattering 106
Rayleigh Scattering 108
The Optics of Metals and Semiconductors 110
The Optics of Metals and Semiconductors 110
The Refractive Index and Absorption Coefficient 111
Normal Incidence Angle Reflectivity 112
Non-Normal Incidence Angle Reflectivity 113
Complex Reflection Coefficients 114
The Principal Angle of Incidence Measurement 115
Bibliography 125
Index 127

Preface

The polarization of light is one of the most remarkable phenomena in nature and has led to numerous discoveries and applications. Today it continues to play a vital role in optics. Before the nineteen fifties there was very little activity on the foundations of polarized light. For example, answers to questions such as the nature and mathematical formulation of unpolarized light and partially polarized light were not readily forthcoming. Fortunately, these questions along with the mathematical tools to deal with polarized light began to be addressed in earnest in the nineteen fifties. As a result, today there is a very good understanding of polarized light. In particular, the mathematical difficulties that had hindered complex polarization calculations were finally overcome with the introduction of the Mueller-Stokes matrix calculus and the Jones matrix calculus. Research in polarized light continues with much vigor as witnessed by the continued appearance of numerous publications and conferences.

The primary objective of this Guide is to provide an introduction to the developments in polarized light that have taken place over the past half-century. In this Guide I have tried to present the most salient topics on the subject. Hopefully, this Field Guide will enable the reader to have a good grasp of the material and most of all to allow him or her to be comfortable and even delighted with the beauty and subject of polarized light.

Finally, this Field Guide is dedicated to my wife, Mary Ann, and my children Ron and Greg. Their encouragement and support greatly simplified the task of writing this Guide.

Edward Collett
Georgian Court University
Lakewood, New Jersey


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