Abstract

Different types of random vector fields can be depolarized in a global sense. They can be physically discriminated by probing the statistical invariance when they are subject to operations such as a change of the reference frame or the introduction of an arbitrary retardance. With use of the observable polarization sphere as a visualization tool, a set of measurements is capable of discriminating between certain types of globally depolarized light, and we discuss the geometric interpretation of the physical invariances.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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