For the first time to the best of our knowledge, we derive expressions for coordinates of the trajectory on the Poincaré sphere that represent polarization evolution in an arbitrary beam of completely polarized light. Our work substantially extends the mapping function of the Poincaré sphere, and opens up new possibilities for its use in optics. In particular, the obtained expressions allow one to visualize the results of the finite-difference time- domain modeling of light propagation through birefringent crystals, including simulations of polarization rotation experienced by ultrashort pulses in nonlinear media.
© 2010 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: April 13, 2010
Revised Manuscript: May 21, 2010
Manuscript Accepted: June 7, 2010
Published: June 24, 2010
Ivan D. Rukhlenko, Chethiya Dissanayake, and Malin Premaratne, "Visualization of electromagnetic-wave polarization evolution using the Poincaré sphere," Opt. Lett. 35, 2221-2223 (2010)