We present an algorithm that decomposes a Mueller matrix into a sequence of three matrix factors: a diattenuator, followed by a retarder, then followed by a depolarizer. Those factors are unique except for singular Mueller matrices. Based on this decomposition, the diattenuation and the retardance of a Mueller matrix can be defined and computed. Thus this algorithm is useful for performing data reduction upon experimentally determined Mueller matrices.
© 1996 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: July 17, 1995
Manuscript Accepted: October 30, 1995
Published: May 1, 1996
Shih-Yau Lu and Russell A. Chipman, "Interpretation of Mueller matrices based on polar decomposition," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 13, 1106-1113 (1996)