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Andy Resnick
Feb7-13, 10:35 AM
Sci Advisor
P: 5,544
The first step is to represent the polarization state by a complex number: the general elliptic state with azimuth θ and ellipticity ε is combined into χ= tan(ε +π/4)exp(-i*2θ.) This maps polarization states to the "cartesian complex plane", and recall that -π/2 ≤ θ < π/2 and -π/4 ≤ ε ≤ π/4. χ= 0 refers to left-circularly polarized light, χ=∞ is right-circularly polarized light.

To construct the Poincare sphere, perform a stereographic mapping of the plane to a unit sphere: latitudes on the sphere then correspond to circles of constant ε on the complex plane and longitude corresponds to lines of constant azimuth on the plane.

Azzam and Bashara's "Ellipsometry and Polarized Light" is an excellent resource for this material.