Mueller Polarimetry

The Mueller polarimeter is one of the two major types of polarimeters used in measuring polarization properties. While the Stokes polarimeter is usually referred to as a light-measuring instrument, the Mueller polarimeter can be viewed as a sample-measuring instrument. In a light polarization model, a sample can be represented by a 4×4 Mueller matrix. When all 16 elements of the Mueller matrix of a sample are determined, the polarimeter can be called a general Mueller polarimeter or a complete Mueller polarimeter. Otherwise, if all 16 elements are not addressed, it is called an incomplete Mueller polarimeter.

PEMs can be employed in Mueller polarimeters. For example, a light source, a polarizer (at 45 deg.) and a PEM at (0 deg.) will form a polarization generator; a second PEM (at -45 deg.) at a different modulating frequency, a second polarizer, or analyzer (at 90 deg.), and a photo-detector will form a polarization analyzer; a sample can be placed between the polarization generator and analyzer.

Such an instrument can simultaneously measure 9 of the 16 Mueller matrix elements of the sample. When the orientation of the polarizers and PEMs are varied, all 16 Mueller matrix elements of the sample can be measured.




Lock-in Amplifiers (Signaloc™ 2100)
Photodiode Detectors


Mueller Polarimeter

Further readings:

White Paper – Polarization Metrology of Anisotropic Materials

R. Anderson, “Measurement of Mueller Matrices,” Applied Optics 31, 11 (1992).

G. E. Jellison, Jr. and F. A. Modine, “Two-Modulator Generalized Ellipsometry: Experiment and Calibration,” Appl. Opt. 36, 8184 (1997); “Two-Modulator Generalized Ellipsometry: Theory,” 36, 8190 (1997)

G. E. Jellison, Jr. and F. A. Modine, “Two Modulator Generalized Ellipsometer for Complete Mueller Matrix Measurement” US patent No. 5,956,147 (1999).

R. A. Chipman, “Polarimetry,” chapter 22 in Handbook of Optics II, 2nd Ed, M. Bass, editor in chief (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1995.

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