Different types of random vector fields can be depolarized in a global sense. They can be physically discriminated by probing the statistical invariance when they are subject to operations such as a change of the reference frame or the introduction of an arbitrary retardance. With use of the observable polarization sphere as a visualization tool, a set of measurements is capable of discriminating between certain types of globally depolarized light, and we discuss the geometric interpretation of the physical invariances.
© 2004 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: May 19, 2003
Revised Manuscript: September 25, 2003
Manuscript Accepted: September 25, 2003
Published: June 1, 2004
Jeremy Ellis and Aristide Dogariu, "Differentiation of globally unpolarized complex random fields," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 21, 988-993 (2004)