Interpretation of Mueller matrices based on polar decomposition

Shih Yau Lu, Russell A. Chipman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1102 Scopus citations


We present an algorithm that decomposes a Mueller matrix into a sequence of three matrix factors: a diattenuator, followed by a retarder, then followed by a depolarizer. Those factors are unique except for singular Mueller matrices. Based on this decomposition, the diattenuation and the retardance of a Mueller matrix can be defined and computed. Thus this algorithm is useful for performing data reduction upon experimentally determined Mueller matrices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1106-1113
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Optical Society of America A: Optics and Image Science, and Vision
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition


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