It is shown that any depolarizing Mueller matrix can be reduced, through a product decomposition, to one of a total of two canonical depolarizer forms, a diagonal and a non-diagonal one. As a consequence, depolarizing Mueller matrices can be divided into Stokes diagonalizable and Stokes non-diagonalizable ones. Properties characteristic of the two canonical depolarizers are identified and discussed. Both canonical depolarizer forms are illustrated in experimental examples taken from the literature.
© 2009 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: September 22, 2009
Revised Manuscript: November 5, 2009
Manuscript Accepted: November 11, 2009
Published: December 23, 2009
Razvigor Ossikovski, "Canonical forms of depolarizing Mueller matrices," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 27, 123-130 (2010)