Abstract

Elliptical polarization can appear in only monochromatic optical fields. In polychromatic vector fields the polarization is a Lissajous figure, but in only commensurate fields do the figures have well-defined shapes; in other fields the shapes are undefined. Nonetheless, I show that a given paraxial polychromatic vector field has a coherency ellipse field associated with it that contains polarization singularities and stationary points that are surrogates for the corresponding critical points of the parent optical field.

© 2003 Optical Society of America

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