Abstract

This paper introduces an operational notation for the Mueller matrices that facilitates the analysis of systems using polarized light. The mathematical formalism presented here is based on rotations about three orthogonal axes of the Poincaré sphere and exploits well-known mathematical properties of coordinate rotation. One result is that a number of identities appear which simplify the functional description of a train of optical components. The technique is extended to include a first-order theory corresponding to that used in geometrical optics.

© 1969 Optical Society of America

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