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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Stokes parameters in undergraduate laboratory exercises
Author(s): Gregory A. Topasna; Daniela M. Topasna

Paper Abstract

Polarization is a concept most students readily understand in terms of the preferential direction of electric field vectors. The visualization of the electric field component of an electromagnetic wave facilitates the understanding of a large body of knowledge concerning propagation and measurement of completely and partially polarized light. Little known to undergraduate students, however, is the Stokes parameters and students typically receive a cursory treatment regarding their usefulness in describing and measuring polarized light in a laboratory or astronomical setting. We present laboratory exercises where students use Stokes parameters when measuring and describing the polarization of electromagnetic radiation and in the statistical analysis of polarized light.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 June 2009
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 9666, 11th Education and Training in Optics and Photonics Conference, 96660R (5 June 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.2207977
Show Author Affiliations
Gregory A. Topasna, Virginia Military Institute (United States)
Daniela M. Topasna, Virginia Military Institute (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9666:
11th Education and Training in Optics and Photonics Conference
K. Alan Shore, Editor(s)

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