The Poincare and Bloch spheres are identical mathematical structures. This implies classical degree of polarization and quantum purity are in fact the same quantity. We make extensive use of this analogy to analyze rival measures of polarization for higher dimensions discussed in the literature, and in particular, the N = 3 case, illustrating interesting relationships that emerge as well the advantages of each measure. We also propose a possible new class of measures of entanglement based on purity of subsystems.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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