From Event: SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications, 2016
Vector beams are spatial modes of light with spatially variant polarization states in the transverse profile. Over the years, vector beams have found their way into plenty of applications ranging from material processing and lithography to electron acceleration and particle trapping. Though qualitative measurements are routinely used to analyse vector beams, there is currently no quantitative measure for vector beam purity. Here, we introduce a new measure, the vector quality factor (VQF), that maps the purity of vector beams to a scale ranging from 0 to 1. We demonstrate a simple optical setup to generate and detect vector beams using a birefringent phase plate known as a q-plate. Tomographic measurements are performed by decomposing the vector beam into its circular basis states, and measuring the expectation values of the Pauli matrices as intensity measurements which, are used to evaluate the VQF of vector beams.
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