Abstract

Three-dimensional polarization states of random light can be classified into regular and nonregular according to the structure of the related 3×3 polarization matrix. Here we show that any purely evanescent wave excited in total internal reflection of a partially polarized plane-wave field is always in a nonregular polarization state. The degree of nonregularity of such evanescent waves is also studied in terms of a recently advanced measure. Nonregular evanescent waves uncover new aspects of the polarimetric structure and dimensional character of electromagnetic near fields, with potential applications in nanoscale surface optics.

© 2019 Optical Society of America

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