Polarization ray tracing in anisotropic optically active media. I. algorithms

Stephen C. McClain, Lloyd W. Hillman, Russell A. Chipman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Procedures for performing polarization ray tracing through birefringent media are presented in a form compatible with the standard methods of geometrical ray tracing. The birefringent materials treated include the following: Anisotropic optically active materials such as quartz, non-optically active uniaxial materials such as calcite, and isotropic optically active materials such as mercury sulfide and organic liquids. Refraction and reflection algorithms are presented that compute both ray directions and wave directions. Methods for computing polarization modes, refractive indices, optical path lengths, and Fresnel transmission and reflection coefficients are also specified. A numerical example of these algorithms is given for analyzing the field of view of a quartz rotator.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2371-2382
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Optical Society of America A: Optics and Image Science, and Vision
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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