A new twist to optical polarization theory: Color U(2) computer graphics

W.G. Harter

The mathematical theory of optical polarization has been used many different ways since it was originated by Stokes and Poincare. In terms of group theoretical acronyms, polarization theory is called an "R(3)-SU(2) homomorphism," that is, a relation between a real three-dimensional (vector) space and a complex two-dimensional (spinor) space. The three-vector description of a two-level quantum system was popularized by Feynman, Vernon, and Hellwarth. Since then, other examples of quasi-spin vectors have been introduced in areas such as molecular physics.

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