Assessing the Polarization of a Quantum Field from Stokes Fluctuations

A. B. Klimov, G. Björk, J. Söderholm, Lars Skovgaard Madsen, Mikael Østergaard Lassen, Ulrik Lund Andersen, J. Heersink, Ruifang Dong, C. Marquardt, G. Leuchs, L. L. Sánchez-Soto

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


We propose an operational degree of polarization in terms of the variance of the Stokes vector minimized over all the directions of the Poincaré sphere. We examine the properties of this second-order definition and carry out its experimental determination. Quantum states with the same standard (first-order) degree of polarization are correctly discriminated by this new measure. We argue that a comprehensive quantum characterization of polarization properties requires a whole hierarchy of higher-order degrees.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number15
Pages (from-to)153602
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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