Mueller matrix polarimetry with invariant polarization pattern beams

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A wide class of nonuniformly totally polarized beams that preserve their transverse polarization pattern during paraxial propagation was studied. Beams of this type are of interest, in particular, in polarimetric techniques that use a single input beam for the determination of the Mueller matrix of a homogeneous sample. In these cases, in fact, it is possible to test the sample response to several polarization states at once. The propagation invariance of the transverse polarization pattern is an interesting feature for beams used in these techniques, because the polarization state of the output beam can be detected at any transverse plane after the sample, without the use of any imaging/magnifying optical system. Furthermore, exploiting the great variety of the beams of this class, the ones that better fit specific experimental constrains can be chosen. In particular, the class also includes beams that present all possible polarization states across their transverse section (the full Poincare beams (FPB)). The use of the latter has recently been proposed to increase the accuracy of the recovered Mueller matrix elements. Examples of FPBs with propagation-invariant polarization profiles and its use in polarimetry are discussed in detail. The requirement of invariance of the polarization pattern can be limited to the propagation in the far field. In such a case, less restrictive conditions are derived, and a wider class of beams is found.
© 2021 by the authors. This research was funded by Spanish Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad under grant number PID2019 104268GB-C21.