Abstract

Traditional interferometric methods for measuring the vortex structure of complex wave fields suffer from many intrinsic problems and seldom yield results of any accuracy. Using the unique properties of what I call Poincaré vortices, I develop a radically different method based on Stokes parameters that offers many practical advantages. The theory of this new method is discussed, and its unique capabilities are illustrated by reconstruction with high accuracy of the vortex structure of a simulated random field containing numerous vortices, including several closely spaced vortex pairs that would be difficult, if not impossible, to resolve by traditional means.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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