The propagation of light through a slowly twisting anisotropic medium is described by a coupled-mode theory; expressions are derived for the electric field for the case of a birefringent dichroic medium with a constant rate of twist. The method provides a simple and intuitive means for determining the effect of twisting on the linear birefringence and dichroic absorption of the medium, particularly when the light is initially linearly polarized. The theory is well suited to the analysis of light absorption in twisting insect photoreceptors, such as found in bees and ants. We provide full expressions and useful approximations for the polarization sensitivity and the initial direction of polarization to give maximum absorption for several types of photoreceptors.
© 1978 Optical Society of AmericaPDF Article