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Optics Letters

Optics Letters


  • Vol. 29, Iss. 15 — Aug. 1, 2004
  • pp: 1715–1717

Polarization singularity democracy: WYSIWYG

Isaac Freund  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Letters, Vol. 29, Issue 15, pp. 1715-1717 (2004)

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The canonical point singularity of elliptically polarized light is a C point, an isolated point of circular polarization surrounded by a field of polarization ellipses. The defining singular property of a C point is that the surrounding ellipses rotate about the point. It is shown that this rotation is seen only for a particular line of sight (LOS) and, conversely, that there exists a unique LOS for every ellipse along which the ellipse is seen as a singularity. It is also shown that changes in LOS can turn singularities into stationary points and vice versa. The democratic behavior of polarization singularities and stationary points is a consequence of the fundamental “what you see is what you get” property of ellipse fields. Simple experiments are proposed for observing this unusual property of elliptically polarized light.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(030.0030) Coherence and statistical optics : Coherence and statistical optics
(030.1670) Coherence and statistical optics : Coherent optical effects
(260.0260) Physical optics : Physical optics
(260.2130) Physical optics : Ellipsometry and polarimetry
(260.5430) Physical optics : Polarization
(350.5030) Other areas of optics : Phase

Isaac Freund, "Polarization singularity democracy: WYSIWYG," Opt. Lett. 29, 1715-1717 (2004)

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