Degree of polarization in near fields of thermal sources: effects of surface waves

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Abstract

We introduce the concept of degree of polarization for electromagnetic near fields. The approach is based on the generalized Stokes parameters that appear as expansion coefficients of the 3×3 coherence matrix in terms of the Gell-Mann matrices. The formalism is applied to optical near fields of thermally fluctuating half-space sources with particular interest in fields that are strongly polarized owing to resonant surface plasmons or phonons. This novel method is particularly useful when assessing the full vectorial characteristics of random evanescent fields, e.g., for near-field spectroscopy and polarization microscopy.
Original languageEnglish
Article number123902
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume88
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2002
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • degree of polarization
  • optical near fields

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