Following our earlier work (F. Flossmann et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 95 253901 (2005)), we describe the fine polarization structure of a beam containing optical vortices propagating through a birefringent crystal, both experimentally and theoretically.We emphasize here the zero surfaces of the Stokes parameters in three-dimensional space, two transverse dimensions and the third corresponding to optical path length in the crystal. We find that the complicated network of polarization singularities reported earlier – lines of circular polarization (C lines) and surfaces of linear polarization (L surfaces) – can be understood naturally in terms of the zeros of the Stokes parameters.
© 2006 Optical Society of America
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