Abstract

The linear errors of Mueller matrix measurements, using a partially polarized light source, have been formulated for imperfections of misalignment, depolarization, and nonideal ellipsometric parameters of the polarimetric components. The error matrices for a source-polarizer system and a source–polarizer–compensator system are derived. A polarized light source, when used with an imperfect polarizer, generates extra errors in addition to those for an unpolarized source. The compensator redistributes these errors to different elements of the error matrix. The errors of the Mueller matrices for the polarizer–sample–analyzer and the polarizer–compensator–sample–analyzer systems are evaluated for a straight through case. This error analysis is applied to a Stokes method and an experiment was performed to show the errors by a polarized light source. This general analysis can be used to evaluate errors for ellipsometry and polarimetry.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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