Abstract

From the basic fact that the matrix that describes a lossless multilayer belongs to the group SU(1, 1), which is locally isomorphic to the (2+1)-dimensional Lorentz group SO(2, 1), we present a natural identification of the parameters of the multilayer with those of a Lorentz transformation. We show that the phase that appears when one is studying the reflection and transmission of light on a compound multilayer is simply the relativistic Thomas rotation. We propose a simple optical experiment to determine the angle of this rotation.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

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