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We investigate the azimuth response function, θo = f(θi), of a linear nondepolarizing optical system S, whereθi and θo, are the azimuths (orientations) of the generally elliptic vibrations of totally polarized light at the input and output of S. We find that the azimuth response function depends on five of the six parameters that specify the normalized circular Jones matrix of the optical system. Thus the entire polarization response of an optical system can be nearly completely reconstructed from its azimuth response alone. Five input-output azimuth measurements (θik, θok), k = 1, 2, ..., 5 are sufficient to fix the ARF. The procedure for such determination is considerably facilitated if the average of θo, when θi sweeps a full rang of π, is measured. The general design and automation of an instrument for performing azimuth measurements are discussed and the use of such measurements to determine the optical parameters of elliptic retarders is given as an application.

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Journal of the Optical Society of America (1917-1983)


This paper was published in Journal of the Optical Society of America (1917-1983) and is made available as an electronic reprint with the permission of OSA. The paper can be found at the following URL on the OSA website: Systematic or multiple reproduction or distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.