We elaborate on the consequences of the factorization of the transfer matrix of any lossless multilayer in terms of three basic matrices of simple interpretation. By considering the bilinear transformation that this transfer matrix induces in the complex plane, we introduce the concept of multilayer transfer function and study its properties in the unit disk. In this geometrical setting, our factorization translates into three actions that can be viewed as the basic components for understanding the multilayer behavior. Additionally, we introduce a simple trace criterion that allows us to classify multilayers into three types with properties closely related to one (and only one) of these three basic matrices. We apply this approach to analyze some practical examples that are typical of these types of matrices.
© 2002 Optical Society of America
(000.3860) General : Mathematical methods in physics
(120.5700) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Reflection
(120.7000) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Transmission
(230.4170) Optical devices : Multilayers
Juan J. Monzón, Teresa Yonte, Luis L. Sánchez-Soto, and José F. Cariñena, "Geometrical setting for the classification of multilayers," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 19, 985-991 (2002)