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Jones vectors and electric field of a wave

  1. Jun 22, 2011 #1
    Hi everyone,

    I have a question. Let's say we have a right circular polarized wave (created by a lamba/4 plate which is reflected in a mirror and send back through the lambda/4 plate.

    Is the only way to calculate the electric field via the Jones vectors or is there any other possibility to calculate the electried field vector?

    I hope I'm in the right board for this question.

    Thanks for your help in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 22, 2011 #2
    Using Jones vectors and matrices is probably the best approach to track polarization vectors, but it is not the only approach. You could also use http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stokes_parameters" [Broken].
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  4. Jun 22, 2011 #3
    Thanks for the help, I'll check this out.
  5. Jun 22, 2011 #4

    Andy Resnick

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    The .pdf file was ok, but it's important to remember that the Stokes/Mueller and Jones calculi are conceptually very different. The Stokes vector can treat randomly polarized light, while the Jones vector cannot, for example.

    The Mueller calculus has the advantage of being based on measurable parameters (intensities), as opposed to the fields themselves. The disadvantage of the Mueller calculus is the increased complexity, because polarization is expressly treated as a statistical property of the electromagnetic field.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  6. Jun 23, 2011 #5
    Yes, thank you for making this distinction. The Stokes are Jones approach are fundamentally different as the Stokes approach deals with a statistic ensemble of many polarization states and the Jones approach deals with a single polarization state. But if one makes the assumption that there is only a single polarization state present, which the original poster implied, one can still apply the Stokes approach and then transform between the two approaches.
  7. Jun 24, 2011 #6

    Claude Bile

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    If you know the polarization state of the wave, do you not know, by definition, the E field of the wave? In other words, by saying that the wave is RHCP, does that not imply certain characteristics about the E field?

    Jones and Mueller matrices are formalisms that aid in calculations when you pass certain polarization states through various optical systems.

  8. Jun 24, 2011 #7

    Andy Resnick

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    I'm not sure I understand your question. For example, how would you specify the E field given a Stokes vector of (1,0,0,0)?
  9. Aug 26, 2011 #8
    The mirror itself serve as a half-wave plate if your light fall perpendicular to its surface. Light that pass two times through the quarter wave plate serves as a half wave plate.
  10. Aug 29, 2011 #9
    No. The polarization is only one part of a plane electromagnetic wave. The E field is a product of the polarization vector, the field magnitude, and the waving part (cos(kx - ωt))
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