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Jones-matrix formalism as a representation of the Lorentz group

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Abstract

It is shown that the two-by-two Jones-matrix formalism for polarization optics is a six-parameter two-by-two representation of the Lorentz group. The attenuation and phase-shift filters are represented, respectively, by the three-parameter rotation subgroup and the three-parameter Lorentz group for two spatial dimensions and one time dimension. The Lorentz group has another three-parameter subgroup, which is like the two-dimensional Euclidean group. Optical filters that may have this Euclidean symmetry are discussed in detail. It is shown that the Jones-matrix formalism can be extended to some of the nonorthogonal polarization coordinate systems within the framework of the Lorentz-group representation.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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