Polarization analysis of optical systems, II

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Methods are presented for the interpretation of the polarization aberration of optical systems. The polarization properties of ray paths through optical systems are classified as diattenuating and/or retarding and as circular, linear, or elliptical via the eigenvalues and eigenpolarization states of the associated Jones matrix. Polarization elements are classified as homogeneous if the eigenpolarization states are orthogonal, and inhomogeneous if they are not. It is shown that the maximum coupling of light from the incident to the orthogonal polarization state occurs when the incident light is in a polarization state which is an equal mixture of the eigenpolarizations of a homogeneous polarization element. Two examples of polarization aberration functions are given, for the radially symmetric system, and for the circularly retarding lens. Simple algorithms are provided to determine aberration coefficients from the polarization ray trace of a few rays. The examples demonstrate how polarization aberration introduces wavefront aberrations and apodization which vary with changes in the incident polarization state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-94
Number of pages16
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - Jan 25 1990
EventPolarization Considerations for Optical Systems II 1989 - San Diego, United States
Duration: Aug 7 1989Aug 11 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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