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Optics Letters

Optics Letters


  • Editor: Anthony J. Campillo
  • Vol. 31, Iss. 14 — Jul. 15, 2006
  • pp: 2208–2210

Stokes parameters and polarization contrasts in Young’s interference experiment

Tero Setälä, Jani Tervo, and Ari T. Friberg  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Letters, Vol. 31, Issue 14, pp. 2208-2210 (2006)

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We derive a spectral interference law that governs the behavior of the four Stokes parameters in Young’s two-pinhole experiment with a random electromagnetic beam. In addition to the visibility of intensity fringes, we introduce three new contrast parameters that describe the interference-induced changes in the field’s state of partial polarization. The polarization modulation depends on the electric field correlations at the pinholes and is closely related to the two-point Stokes parameters. The results are expected to be particularly useful in polarization interferometry and electromagnetic coherence theory. The formalism is demonstrated with specific examples.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(030.1640) Coherence and statistical optics : Coherence
(260.2110) Physical optics : Electromagnetic optics
(260.3160) Physical optics : Interference
(260.5430) Physical optics : Polarization

ToC Category:
Physical Optics

Original Manuscript: April 12, 2006
Manuscript Accepted: May 12, 2006

Tero Setälä, Jani Tervo, and Ari T. Friberg, "Stokes parameters and polarization contrasts in Young's interference experiment," Opt. Lett. 31, 2208-2210 (2006)

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  1. L. Mandel and E. Wolf, Optical Coherence and Quantum Optics (Cambridge U. Press, 1995).
  2. C. Brosseau, Fundamentals of Polarized Light: A Statistical Optics Approach (Wiley, 1998).
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