The characterization of anisotropic materials and complex systems by ellipsometry has pushed the design of instruments to require the measurement of the full reflection Mueller matrix of the sample with a great precision. Therefore Mueller matrix ellipsometers have emerged over the past twenty years. The values of some coefficients of the matrix can be very small and errors due to noise or systematic errors can induce distored analysis. We present a detailed characterization of the systematic errors for a Mueller Matrix Ellipsometer in the dual-rotating compensator configuration. Starting from a general formalism, we derive explicit first-order expressions for the errors on all the coefficients of the Mueller matrix of the sample. The errors caused by inaccuracy of the azimuthal arrangement of the optical components and residual ellipticity introduced by imperfect optical elements are shown. A new method based on a four-zone averaging measurement is proposed to vanish the systematic errors.
© 2008 Optical Society of America
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