In this paper, dispersion analysis of optical components and systems is presented using a formalism based on the elementary matrices and the $N$-matrix, first described by Jones. This approach readily incorporates both phase and amplitude dispersion in a generalized dispersion framework. The method simplifies the analysis of the combined effects of group delay, differential group delay, amplitude slope, and differential amplitude slope as compared to traditional Jones matrix methods. Higher order polarization-mode dispersion and the effects of concatenation are presented along with a discussion of measurement principles. The application of the elementary matrix concept to Mueller matrix methods in Stokes space is also discussed.
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