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Applied Optics

Applied Optics

APPLICATIONS-CENTERED RESEARCH IN OPTICS

  • Editor: James C. Wyant
  • Vol. 47, Iss. 22 — Aug. 1, 2008
  • pp: 4009–4016

Visualization and calculation of polarized light. I. The polarization ellipse, the Poincaré sphere and the hybrid polarization sphere

Edward Collett and Beth Schaefer  »View Author Affiliations


Applied Optics, Vol. 47, Issue 22, pp. 4009-4016 (2008)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/AO.47.004009


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Abstract

We describe the historical and mathematical development of the polarization ellipse and the Poincaré sphere. We point out the limitations of the Poincaré sphere in its present use. To overcome these limitations we describe a new polarization sphere that we call the hybrid polarization sphere. This name is used because phase shifting and rotation of polarization components are described by small circles. Furthermore, longitudinal and latitudinal great circles are introduced so that the coordinates of a point on the sphere can be read. The hybrid polarization sphere is described and applied to polarizers, wave plates, and rotators. As a result, the hybrid polarization sphere can be used for both visualization and calculation and enables the difficulties associated with the Poincaré sphere to be overcome.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(120.5410) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Polarimetry
(260.0260) Physical optics : Physical optics
(260.5430) Physical optics : Polarization

ToC Category:
Physical Optics

History
Original Manuscript: April 15, 2008
Revised Manuscript: June 27, 2008
Manuscript Accepted: June 30, 2008
Published: July 23, 2008

Citation
Edward Collett and Beth Schaefer, "Visualization and calculation of polarized light. I. The polarization ellipse, the Poincaré sphere and the hybrid polarization sphere," Appl. Opt. 47, 4009-4016 (2008)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/ao/abstract.cfm?URI=ao-47-22-4009

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