Abstract

Vector beams have found a myriad of applications, from laser materials processing to microscopy, and are now easily produced in the laboratory. They are usually differentiated from scalar beams by qualitative measures, for example, visual inspection of beam profiles after a rotating polarizer. Here we introduce a quantitative beam quality measure for vector beams and demonstrate it on cylindrical vector vortex beams. We show how a single measure can be defined for the vector quality, from 0 (purely scalar) to 1 (purely vector). Our measure is derived from a quantum toolkit, which we show applies to classical vector beams.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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