Abstract

Detection, identification, and characterization of natural and artificial chiral materials have found numerous applications in biochemistry, chemistry, drugs, medicine, and engineering. With the extensive use of optical polarimetric scatterometry, the relationships between the parameters related to optical activity (optical rotation and circular dichroism) and the Mueller matrix elements (which totally characterize scattered light) have been derived when the host medium for the chiral material is dissipative and nondissipative. It is shown that for the general case when optimum excitation is accounted for in the analysis, the relationship is given in terms of a complex pairing of specific quasi-off-diagonal elements of the Mueller matrix. This work provides a road map for experimentalists to determine the optimum excitation (angles of incidence and scatter), wavelength, mode of operation (reflection or transmission), and the specific Muller matrix elements that need to be measured.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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