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Journal of the Optical Society of America A

Journal of the Optical Society of America A


  • Editor: Franco Gori
  • Vol. 30, Iss. 4 — Apr. 1, 2013
  • pp: 691–700

Depolarization synthesis: understanding the optics of Mueller matrix depolarization

Shane R. Cloude  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA A, Vol. 30, Issue 4, pp. 691-700 (2013)

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In this paper, we consider the forward problem in depolarization by optical systems. That is, we seek a compact parameterization that allows us to take an arbitrary “pure” optical system (namely one defined by a single Mueller–Jones matrix) and model all possible ways in which that system can depolarize light. We model this structure using compound unitary transformations and illustrate physical interpretation of the parameters involved by considering four examples, the family of depolarizers generated by scattering by random nonspherical particle clouds. We then turn attention to circular polarizers before considering all ways in which mirror reflection can cause depolarization. Finally, we consider a numerical example applied to a published Mueller matrix for backscatter from chiral turbid media.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(030.0030) Coherence and statistical optics : Coherence and statistical optics
(290.5855) Scattering : Scattering, polarization

ToC Category:
Coherence and Statistical Optics

Original Manuscript: November 27, 2012
Revised Manuscript: February 4, 2013
Manuscript Accepted: February 4, 2013
Published: March 21, 2013

Virtual Issues
Vol. 8, Iss. 5 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics

Shane R. Cloude, "Depolarization synthesis: understanding the optics of Mueller matrix depolarization," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 30, 691-700 (2013)

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