From the basic fact that the matrix that describes a lossless multilayer belongs to the group SU(1, 1), which is locally isomorphic to the (2+1)-dimensional Lorentz group SO(2, 1), we present a natural identification of the parameters of the multilayer with those of a Lorentz transformation. We show that the phase that appears when one is studying the reflection and transmission of light on a compound multilayer is simply the relativistic Thomas rotation. We propose a simple optical experiment to determine the angle of this rotation.
© 1999 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
J. J. Monzón and L. L. Sánchez-Soto, "Origin of the Thomas rotation that arises in lossless multilayers," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 16, 2786-2792 (1999)