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Direct determination of the generalized Stokes parameters from the usual Stokes parameters

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Abstract

We report an experimental method to determine the generalized Stokes parameters for a pair of points in the cross section of an electromagnetic beam, e.g., an expanded laser beam, with the help of a Young’s interferometer and a set of polarizers and quarter-wave plates. The method is investigated theoretically using the electromagnetic spectral interference law. The generalized Stokes parameters, owing to their two-point nature, determine the behavior of the single-point polarization properties of the electromagnetic beam at a field point. The present method offers a unique means to determine the two-point parameters (correlation functions) by measuring the usual Stokes parameters (intensities) and the contrast parameters (visibilities) of the beam. The method might be applicable to determine the polarization dependent changes in various optical measurements.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

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