Abstract

Polarization singularities are shown to emerge spontaneously from the incoherent addition of uncorrelated optical fields that individually need not contain singularities. Examples of this phenomenon are given for both vector and ellipse fields. The incoherent addition of vector fields whose singularities have integer winding numbers is shown to yield fields whose singularities have half-integer winding numbers. These findings are used to make predictions about the singularities of the polarized component of the cosmic microwave background.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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