A fully automated Mueller-matrix ellipsometer with a division-of-amplitude photopolarimeter as the polarization-state detector is described. This device achieves Mueller-matrix ellipsometry by measuring the Stokes parameters of reflected light as a function of the fast axis C of a quarter-wave retarder, which, in combination with a fixed linear polarizer, determines the polarization state of incident light. The reflected Stokes parameters were Fourier analyzed to give the 16 elements of the Mueller matrix. We investigated depolarization of polarized light on reflection from rough, heterogeneous, and anisotropic surfaces by obtaining measurements on rolled aluminum and plant leaves. The results demonstrate (1) a variation of degree of polarization of reflected light with the input polarization state, (2) the precision with which the measured matrices describe the depolarization results, (3) effects of surface anisotropy (rolling direction) on depolarization and cross polarization by reflection from aluminum surfaces, and (4) large values and differences in the depolarization effects from conifer and deciduous leaves. Depolarization of light reflected by the aluminum surfaces was most sensitive to the angle between the plane of incidence and the rolling direction when the incident Stokes parameters S 1, S 2, and S 3 were equal.
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