Polarized Light and Optical Measurement by D.N. Clarke, J.F. Grainger and D. ter Haar (Auth.)

By D.N. Clarke, J.F. Grainger and D. ter Haar (Auth.)

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The inequality must have arisen because of the presence of the unpolarized component. Can we extend our understanding of the significance of Stokes parameters to encompass a description of unpolarized light and account for the above inequality? As we have seen, partially polarized light behaves as an incoherent sum of totally polarized and unpolarized components. The unpolarized light can in turn be considered as two orthogonal linearly polarized incoherent beams of equal intensity and each of these can be described by a set of Stokes parameters, since they are perfectly polarized.

Incident electric vector F I G . 2 . 3 . Effect o f reducing the angle o f incidence for the situation as depicted in Fig. 2 . 2 . This representation is wrong for depicting nodality at a small angle o f incidence. Reflected electric vector Yet nodality definitely occurs for light under these conditions of incidence, as may be demonstrated by the presence of a dark spot at the centre of Newton's rings. Clearly to preserve nodality we must assume that the reflected electric vector near normal incidence points the opposite way in relation to its direction of propagation (see Fig.

57 POLARIZED LIGHT AND OPTICAL MEASUREMENT led to incorrect assessment of the phase changes on total internal reflection. In fact Airy (1831), using the incorrect sign of the tangent Fresnel equation referred to earlier, accidentally obtained the correct answer to a problem relating to the Fresnel r h o m b (Chapter 3) by arbitrarily and, as we shall see, incorrectly, choosing the positive sign for the above square root. To solve the problem we must consider the disturbance in the second medium.

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