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Polarization and spatial coherence of light in disordered media

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MWSW02 - Theory of wave scattering in complex and random media

Light transport in disordered media is characterized by a multiple scattering process, which scrambles the direction, phase and polarization of the propagating waves. Since the polarization of an incident wave is lost on average after a few scattering events, it is expected that the propagation of the average intensity in the diffusive limit corresponds to that of a scalar field. This progressive depolarization has been studied theoretically and experimentally for almost three decades, yet recent studies have shown that many aspects related to the vector nature of light in disordered media remain to be investigated. In this talk, I will present a theoretical analysis based on multiple scattering theory of the polarization and spatial coherence of light in disordered media. Analytical expressions for the diagonal and off-diagonal terms of the field correlation matrix are derived, revealing in particular a strong anisotropy of spatial coherence even at large distances from a polarized source [1]. We also show that short-range structural correlations, described via the classical scattering anisotropy parameter g, affect the diffusion of polarized light in a highly nontrivial way [2]. [1] K. Vynck, R. Pierrat, R. Carminati, Phys. Rev. A 89 , 013842 (2014).[2] K. Vynck, R. Pierrat, R. Carminati, Phys. Rev. A 94 , 033851 (2016). Co-authors: Romain Pierrat and Rémi Carminati

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