Optical polarimetric techniques to identify and characterize biological and chemical materials have received much attention recently for their broad applications in biophotonics, biochemistry, biomedicine, and pharmacology. We present here several options for the measurement of optical rotation, diattenuation, and the index of depolarization. These include polar decomposition, identification of specific pairs of Mueller matrix elements that are proportional to optical activity, and the cross-polarized components of lateral waves and surface waves at the interface between free space and the optically active material.
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