Abstract

We have analyzed entropy properties of coherent and partially polarized light in an arbitrary number of spatial dimensions. We show that for Gaussian fields, the Shannon entropy is a simple function of the intensity and of the Barakat degree of polarization. In particular, we provide a probabilistic interpretation of this definition of the degree of polarization. Using information theory results, we also deduce some physical properties of partially polarized light such as additivity of the entropy and depolarization effects induced by mixing partially polarized states of light. Finally, we demonstrate that entropy measures can play an important role in segmentation and detection tasks.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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