Abstract

The polarization properties of vectorial coherent nonparaxial Gaussian beams are studied. It is shown that, when the source of a nonparaxial Gaussian beam is completely polarized, the degree of polarization of the propagation field maintains a constant value of 1. However, when the source is completely unpolarized, the degree of polarization does not maintain a constant value of 0. In the far field, vectorial nonparaxial Gaussian beams can become partially polarized, except on the propagation axis, and are spatially nonuniform across a typical cross section of the beam even though the source field is completely unpolarized.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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