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Light beams with general direction and polarization: global description and geometric phase

  • Nityananda, R.
  • Sridhar, S.
Publication Date
Dec 05, 2012
Submission Date
Dec 05, 2012
arXiv ID: 1212.0943
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We construct the manifold describing the family of plane monochromatic light waves with all directions, polarizations, phases and intensities. A smooth description of polarization, valid over the entire sphere S^2 of directions, is given through the construction of an orthogonal basis pair of complex polarization vectors for each direction; any light beam is then uniquely and smoothly specified by giving its direction and two complex amplitudes. This implies that the space of all light beams is the six dimensional manifold S^2 X C^2, the Cartesian product of a sphere and a two dimensional complex vector space. A Hopf map (i.e mapping the two complex amplitudes to the Stokes parameters) then leads to the four dimensional manifold S^2 X S^2 which describes beams with all directions and polarization states. This product of two spheres can be viewed as an ordered pair of two points on a single sphere, in contrast to earlier work in which the same system was represented using Majorana's mapping of the states of a spin one quantum system to an unordered pair of points on a sphere. This is a different manifold, CP^2, two dimensional complex projective space, which does not faithfully represent the full space of all directions and polarizations. Following the now-standard framework, we exhibit the fibre bundle whose total space is the set of all light beams of non-zero intensity, and base space S^2 X S^2. We give the U(1) connection which determines the geometric phase as the line integral of a one-form along a closed curve in the total space. Bases are classified as globally smooth, global but singular, and local, with the last type of basis being defined only when the curve traversed by the system is given. Existing as well as new formulae for the geometric phase are presented in this overall framework.

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