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Optical polarimetry of random fields.


The state of polarization of an optical field provides detailed information concerning both the radiation emission processes and the intricate interaction between light and matter. We report here a novel approach for characterizing the polarization properties of electromagnetic fields for which the electric field vector at a point may fluctuate in three dimensions. Using probes which couple all three components of the field, we were able to extract the polarized and unpolarized components of such fields. Our results constitute the proof of concept for what could be called three-dimensional optical polarimetry.