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Title: Evolution of light beams in polarization and direction
Authors: Bhandari, R.
Issue Date: Dec-1991
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Citation: Physica B: Condensed Matter, 1991, Vol.175, p111-122
Abstract: The possibility of making arbitrary SU(2) transformations on the polarization state of a light beam with a fixed k vector using combinations of quarterwave and halfwave plates allow the simulation on the light polarization system of an arbitrary stationary magnetic field or of interesting time-varying magnetic fields acting on spin 1/2 particles. This enables the study of several intriguing properties of spin -1/2 or SU(2) phases by optical interferometry. Such studies lead to interesting insights into the quantum evolution of spin systems. We discuss ± π phase jumps associated with the geometric part of the phase change in the evolution of a spin -1/2 particle. Using results obtained from polarization transformations, we show that when a rotating magnetic field acts on a spin, for certain critical rotation frequencies, all spin states become cyclic. Geometric phase experiments involving mixed evolution of light beams in direction and polarization led recently to a method for decomposing such an evolution that makes the analysis of such problems conceptually simpler; particularly where polarization changes are accompanied with mirror reflections for it separates the two physically distinct functions of a mirror, namely a change of direction of the beam and a polarization transformation. We show the consistency of this method with other existing methods and describe some useful results in polarization optics including some obtained by this method. For example, we show that the effect of an odd number of ideal metal-mirror reflections can be ‘cancelled’ by introducing just one halfwave plate in the light path.
Description: Restricted Access. Reprinted in Proc. of the international symposium on analogies in optics & micro-electronics, Eindhoven, Netherlands, 1991. Eds. W van Haeringen & D Lenstra. North Holland, 1991
ISSN: 0921-4526
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Copyright: 1991 Elsevier B.V.
Appears in Collections:Research Papers (TP)

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