Abstract

It is shown that any depolarizing Mueller matrix can be reduced, through a product decomposition, to one of a total of two canonical depolarizer forms, a diagonal and a non-diagonal one. As a consequence, depolarizing Mueller matrices can be divided into Stokes diagonalizable and Stokes non-diagonalizable ones. Properties characteristic of the two canonical depolarizers are identified and discussed. Both canonical depolarizer forms are illustrated in experimental examples taken from the literature.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

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