We introduce a Fourier analysis of the waveform of periodic light-irradiance variation to capture Fourier coefficients for multichannel rotating-element ellipsometers. In this analysis, the Fourier coefficients for a sample are obtained using a discrete Fourier transform on the exposures. The analysis gives a generic function that encompasses the discrete Fourier transform or the Hadamard transform, depending on the specific conditions. Unlike the Hadamard transform, a well-known data acquisition method that is used only for conventional multichannel rotating-element ellipsometers with line arrays with specific readout-mode timing, this Fourier analysis is applicable to various line arrays with either nonoverlap or overlap readout-mode timing. To assess the effects of the novel Fourier analysis, the Fourier coefficients for a sample were measured with a custom-built rotating-polarizer ellipsometer, using this Fourier analysis with various numbers of scans, integration times, and rotational speeds of the polarizer.
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