Abstract

A unified treatment of the Pauli algebraic forms of the linear operators defined on a unitary linear space of two dimensions over the field of complex numbers C1 is given. The Pauli expansions of the normal and nonnormal operators, unitary and Hermitian operators, orthogonal projectors, and symmetries are deduced in this frame. A geometrical interpretation of these Pauli algebraical results is given. With each operator, one can associate a generally complex vector, its Pauli axis. This is a natural generalization of the well-known Poincaré axis of some normal operators. A geometric criterion of distinction between the normal and nonnormal operators by means of this vector is established. The results are exemplified by the Pauli representations of the normal and nonnormal operators corresponding to some widespread composite polarization devices.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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Equations (75)

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