Abstract

The degree of polarimetric purity of a Mueller matrix, also called “depolarization index” [Opt. Acta 33, 185 (1986)] is expressed as a quadratic average of two contributions of different nature. The contribution due to the polarizance and diattenuation properties is given by a unique parameter called “degree of polarizance,” and the complementary contribution due to nonpolarizing properties is given by a parameter called “degree of spherical purity.” These two intrinsic quantities are useful in order to analyze the sources of the polarimetric purity of a material sample whose Mueller matrix has been measured and provide criteria for the classification of Mueller matrices.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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