The linear birefringences, optic axes, and linear eigenpolarizations that are familiar features of light propagation in transparent optically inactive anisotropic crystals are fully explained by Fresnel’s ellipsoid model or the related indicatrix ellipsoid. However, these models cannot account for circular birefringence and the linear birefringences of Lorentz and Jones. All birefringences can, nevertheless, be explained by an appropriate multipole eigenvalue theory, of which the electric-dipole description presented in this paper is the formal basis of the ellipsoid models. This description is analytic in form, as opposed to the mainly geometric treatment of the ellipsoid schemes, and sets the latter in the context of a systematic multipole approach for describing other birefringences. Furthermore, it offers certain new insights and results.
© 1998 Optical Society of AmericaPDF Article