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Opt Express. 2008 Apr 14;16(8):5305-13.

Degree of polarization of thermal light emitted by gratings supporting surface waves.

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Ecole Centrale Paris, Laboratoire d'Energétique Moléculaire et Macroscopique, Combustion, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Grande Voie des Vignes, 92295 Châtenay-Malabry Cedex, France.


Absorption and emission of light due to the resonant excitation of surface waves on a grating is a well-known phenomenon. We report the first complete study of the influence of the role of angle and polarization on thermal emission by lamellar gratings. We derive the emitted Stokes vectors in any direction. We find that a source can be quasi isotropic from the point of view of the intensity but strongly anisotropic for polarized light. It follows that the degree of polarization can vary between 0 and 1, depending on directions.

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