Royal Society Publishing

Polarization singularities in isotropic random vector waves

M.V Berry, M.R Dennis


Following Nye & Hajnal, we explore the geometry of complex vector waves by regarding them as a field of polarization ellipses. Singularities of this field are the C lines and L lines, where the polarization is purely circular and purely linear, respectively. The singularities can be reinterpreted as loci of photon spin 1 (C lines) and 0 (L lines). For Gaussian random superpositions of plane waves equidistributed in direction but with an arbitrary frequency spectrum, we calculate the density (length per unit volume) of C and L lines.

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