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OSA Publishing

Editor's Picks Collection: Polarization and Ellipsometry

To honor OSA's centennial, JOSA A Centennial Editor Bahaa Saleh selected articles from a variety of topic areas that reflect the progression of each area over the journal's history. Below is a collection of articles in the area of Polarization and Ellipsometry.

Note that this selection of articles is not meant to be exhaustive but authoritative, showing that significant contributions were made and continue to be made in this area.


I am very pleased to offer our readers our first list of centennials editor's pick articles, compiled by former JOSA A Editor-in-Chief and current Centennial Editor, Bahaa Saleh. This list on polarization and ellipsometry delves into our history, beginning in 1936. In that year the Maxwellian theory that light is an electromagnetic phenomenon was a spry 71 years old. Later in the list we find a seminal paper by Mueller of the famous Mueller matrices, a topic that reappears decades later in our list in JOSA A papers. Finally, we see the fundamental physical insight of the vector theory of light bear fruit in engineering and measurement of thin films in the 1962 paper by Archer. I hope you will take the time to explore the roots of our very active modern research community in polarization and ellipsometry, using these articles as a jumping-off point.

P. Scott Carney
JOSA A Editor-in-Chief

  1. The Optical Constants of Several Metals in Vacuum
    H. M. O'Bryan
    J. Opt. Soc. Am. 26(3) 122-127 (1936)
  2. A new calculus for the treatment of optical systems, I. Description and Discussion of the Calculus
    R. Clark Jones
    J. Opt. Soc. Am. 31(7) 488-493 (1941)
  3. The foundations of optics (in Proceedings of the Winter Meeting of the Optical Society of America)
    Hans Mueller
    J. Opt. Soc. Am. 38(7) 661 (1948)
  4. On the Stokes Parameters for Polarized Radiation
    D. L. Falkoff and J. E. MacDonald
    J. Opt. Soc. Am. 41(11) 861-862 (1951)
  5. Light Scattering in the Atmosphere and the Polarization of Sky Light
    Z. Sekera
    J. Opt. Soc. Am. 47(6) 484-490 (1957)
  6. Determination of the Properties of Films on Silicon by the Method of Ellipsometry
    R. J. Archer
    J. Opt. Soc. Am. 52(9) 970-977 (1962)
  7. Ellipsometric Measurement of the Polarization Transfer Function of an Optical System
    R. M. A. Azzam and N. M. Bashara
    J. Opt. Soc. Am. 62(3) 336-340 (1972)
  8. Optics in Stratified and Anisotropic Media: 4×4-Matrix Formulation
    Dwight W. Berreman
    J. Opt. Soc. Am. 62(4) 502-510 (1972)
  9. Generalized trace condition on the Mueller-Jones polarization matrix
    Christian Brosseau, Clark R. Givens, and Alexander B. Kostinski
    J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 10(10) 2248-2251 (1993)
  10. Interpretation of Mueller matrices based on polar decomposition
    Shih-Yau Lu and Russell A. Chipman
    J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 13(5) 1106-1113 (1996)
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