Abstract

The classification of polarization elements, the polarization affecting optical devices that have a Jones-matrix representation according to the type of eigenvectors they possess, is given a new visit through the group-theoretical connection of polarization elements. The diattenuators and retarders are recognized as the elements corresponding to boosts and rotations, respectively. The structure of homogeneous elements other than diattenuators and retarders are identified by giving the quaternion corresponding to these elements. The set of degenerate polarization elements is identified with the so-called null elements of the Lorentz group. Singular polarization elements are examined in their more illustrative Mueller-matrix representation, and, finally the eigenstructure of a special class of singular Mueller matrices is studied.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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