Abstract

A new approach is proposed for studying the optical properties of anisotropic stratified media that makes use of a suitable perturbative treatment of Berreman’s 4 × 4 matrix, which describes light propagation in these structures. The method consists in finding a new basis for the 4 × 4 matrix in which a specific problem may be treated in a more convenient way. This allows one easily to obtain information about quantities of immediate physical meaning and to find simple approximate expressions for the optical properties having particular interest in experiments. The case of light propagation in cholesteric and chyral smectic liquid crystals at small incidence angles is studied in detail.

© 1986 Optical Society of America

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