An exact representation of the transfer matrix for stratified homogeneous uniaxial media is derived. It can be used to calculate optical quantities such as reflectance and transmittance by means of Berreman’s 4 × 4 matrix method, permitting calculations for thick homogeneous slabs such as polarizers in one single step without the commonly used truncated series expansion. When the dielectric tensor of an inhomogeneous medium varies continuously with the normal to the plane of stratification, the medium is divided into thin slabs. The transfer matrix of the whole medium is then obtained by multiplying the transfer matrices of all slabs. Treating each slab as homogeneous gives satisfactory results, as shown in an example of a periodic structure for which an analytic solution is known.
© 1988 Optical Society of America
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