Abstract

Birefringent crystals are extensively used to manipulate polarized light. The generalized transfer matrix developed allows efficient calculation of the full polarization state of light transmitted through and reflected by a stack of arbitrarily many discrete layers of isotropic and birefringent materials at any frequency and angle of incidence. The matrix of a uniaxial birefringent crystal with arbitrary rotation is calculated, along with its reduction to the matrix of an isotropic medium. This method is of great practical importance where tight control of systematic effects is needed in optical systems employing birefringent crystals, one example being wave plates used by cosmic microwave background polarimetry with wide field-of-view telescopes.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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Corrections

Thomas Essinger-Hileman, "Transfer matrix for treating stratified media including birefringent crystals: erratum," Appl. Opt. 53, 4264-4265 (2014)
https://www.osapublishing.org/ao/abstract.cfm?uri=ao-53-19-4264

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