The polarization of light plays an important role in optical science and engineering. While most textbook treatments of light assume beams of spatially homogeneous polarization, there is an increasing interest in beams with spatially inhomogeneous state of polarizations. New effects and phenomena have been predicted and observed for light beams with these unconventional polarization states. To capture the latest development in this important emerging field of optics, it is our pleasure to introduce you the Optics Express Focus Issue on the Unconventional Polarization States of Light, with special attention to innovative work being done with radial polarizations, azimuthal polarizations, and other types of polarization vortices and spatially engineered polarizations.

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