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Difference between the Brewster angle and angle of minimum reflectance for incident unpolarized or circularly polarized light at interfaces between transparent media

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Abstract

For reflection at interfaces between transparent optically isotropic media, the difference between the Brewster angle ϕB of zero reflectance for incident p-polarized light and the angle ϕumin of minimum reflectance for incident unpolarized or circularly polarized light is considered as function of the relative refractive n in external and internal reflection. We determine the following. (i) ϕumin<ϕB for all values of n. (ii) In external reflection (n>1), the maximum difference (ϕBϕumin)max=75° at n=2+3. (iii) In internal reflection and 0<n23, (ϕBϕumin)max=15° at n=23; for 23<n<1, ϕumin=0, and (ϕBϕumin)max=45° as n1. (iv) For 23n2+3, the intensity reflectance R0 at normal incidence is in the range 0R01/3, ϕumin=0, and ϕBϕumin=ϕB. (v) For internal reflection and 0<n<23, ϕumin exhibits an unexpected maximum (= 12.30°) at n=0.24265. Finally, (vi) for 1/3R0<1, Rumin at ϕumin is limited to the range 1/3Rumin<1/2.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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