Abstract

A point of circular polarization embedded in a paraxial field of elliptical polarization is a polarization singularity called a C point. At such a point the major axis a and minor axis b of the ellipse become degenerate. Away from the C point this degeneracy is lifted such that surfaces a and b form nonanalytic cones that are joined at their apex (the C point) to produce a double cone called a diabolo. Typically, during propagation diabolo pairs are created or annihilated. We present rules based on geometry and topology that govern these events, provide initial experimental confirmation, and enumerate the allowed configurations in which diabolos can be created or annihilated.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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