Early 2024 update

Long time without updates. I try to summarize in brief bullet points some of the accumulated news, without following any particular order.

Figure 5

  • A few months ago I got a “Consolidación” project. The project is titled SPECTROPEM – Ultrasensitive polarization encoded spectroscopy without monochromator based on photoelastic modulators. This project will involve not only some research activities, but brings some new lab spaces and renewal works.
  • We also got another project from the PID2022 call. The project is titled “Imagen polarimétrica para la mejora de la visibilidad y la detección en medios turbios” and it is our first project that approaches biomedical imaging aspects. The project has just started now.
  • Our student Subiao Bian got a Fi-SDUR 2023 fellowship to complete his PhD.
  • Last Spring-Summer Beáta Hroncová from Masaryk University, Brno did a stay of 3 months in our lab funded under an Erasmus+. She did some very interesting work on spatial dispersion (on different materials) that now needs to be completed.
  • Las summer I visited Huaqiao University in China. It was the kick-off of a 111 project (“Introducing Intelligence Base of Intelligent Manufacturing Technologies for Brittle Material”) where we participate. China’s “111 Project” or “Project 111”, launched in 2005, is a national programme that aims to draw about 1000 leading overseas scholars and researchers from worldwide top 100 universities and research institutes to over 100 “innovation bases” in China.
  • Last autumn Akash Tiwari from New York University (USA) did a stay in our lab of 3 months. Akash was interested in learning all the tricks of the 4-PEM Mueller matrix polarimeter.
  • During Jan and Feb 2024 Prof. Kevin McPeak from Louisiana State University is visiting our group. We are trying to finish some pending on tricky chiroptics of metamaterials.



New SGR Group about “Polarized light Applications & Technologies (PLAT)”

Research in Catalan Universities is organized through Research Groups recognized by the Agency for Management of University and Research Grants (AGAUR). In the last call, I led the application for a new emergent research group called “Polarized light Applications & Technologies (PLAT)”, which was granted. 

I made a preliminary (under-construction) website of the group at: www.ub.edu/plat

However, this (www.mmpolarimetry.com) personal website will of course continue to exist, as it already has a long history, offers more personal views on research topics, and is easier to update.

History papers

Here I share some historical papers/documents/books about polarization optics that are very hard to find and that I consider important or very nice.

Soleillet Thesis (1929) [First description of Stokes-Mueller calculus]


Perrin 1942 (English translation) [First work describing Mueller matrix symmetries]


Mueller 1943 (Memorandum on the polarization optics of the photoelastic shutter] [The most relevant available work by Hans Mueller]


Walker 1904, The analytical theory of light [book] [The only English book that described Stokes parameters way before they were rediscovered]



November update

Many months without updates. So this is a summary of the latest news (without following any particular order)

New Book Chapter

Arteaga, O., Ossikovski, R. (2023). Mueller Matrix Analysis, Decompositions, and Novel Quantitative Approaches to Processing Complex Polarimetric Data. In: Ramella-Roman, J.C., Novikova, T. (eds) Polarized Light in Biomedical Imaging and Sensing. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-04741-1_2

New Optics letter paper about spatial dispersion selected as an editor’s pick

Razvigor Ossikovski and Oriol Arteaga, “Optical response of media and structures exhibiting spatial dispersion,” Opt. Lett. 47, 5602-5605 (2022)

(more research on this topic will follow)

2022 Horizon Award from Royal Society

I participated in the large international team of scientists that developed chiral organics for photon/electron spin control. 

New projects starting!

Two new projects funded by Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades,  will start very soon. 

  • “Microscopio de matriz de Mueller” (PDC2022-133625-I00).
  • “Caracterización óptica de células solares altamente texturizadas para optimizar su eficiencia” (TED2021-129639B-I00).

Funding opportunities for interested students may be possible (contact me).

Listed in the “Stanford list”

For a second consecutive year, I have been listed in the list of the top 2% of most influential researchers in their field. The database gathers the leading scientists in different disciplines and is made from the information provided by the Scopus database.

Press release from UB

Appointed as Topical Editor in Applied Optics

I have been appointed as Topical Editor in Applied Optics in the areas of Polarization, Polarimetry, Ellipsometry, and Polarimetric Imaging. Applied Optics, from Optica Publishing Group (formerly Optical Society of America), is my top preferred journal for applications-centered research in optics, and I have published there many articles. I hope I will receive many interesting submissions related to these topics and, therefore, I also encourage researchers working on polarization, polarimetry and ellipsometry to consider Applied Optics as a suitable journal for their best works.

On the history of ellipsometry

The purpose of this post is to provide some interesting documents related to the history of ellipsometry. It is sometimes considered that Paul Drude was the “inventor” of ellipsometry. Despite the many contributions of P. Drude, in my opinion this statement is not true and, as almost all aspects and techniques related with the polarization of light, ellipsometry was invented in France, as early as mid XIXth century. It is however true, that at that time the influence of thin films on ellipsometry measurements was still not discovered or understood (althought the associated ellipticity was already measured), so the technique was mostly regarded as a method to determine optical constants of bulk materials. The relation between ellipsometry and thin films came later, with the works of P. Drude and Lord Rayleight.

Jules Jamin

Jules Célestin Jamin (1818-1886). If ellipsometry needs an inventor, it is him. He did many ellipsometry measurements and described the first ellipsometer, which was later made commercial by French optic intrument makers Soleil/Duboscq.

Here I share two of his publications from 1847 and 1850, which clearly describe how the polarization ellipse is measured upon light reflection on different materials.

Samuel Haughton

Samuel Haughton (1821-1897) made a great English summary of Jamin’s Publications and he himself made many more measurements using an ellipsometer that replicated Jamin’s description.

The first ellipsometer?

Jamin’s 1850 publication gives a detailed description of the instrument he was using. This instrument was made commercial by the French Scientific Instrument Makers Soleil, Duboscq, and their successors. The instrument was sold under the name of “Grand cercle de Jamin et Sernármont” and comprised one rotatable polarizer, one rotatable analyzer and an ajustable compensator. The “grand cercle” was used to adjust the angle of incidence. It seems it was possible to purchase this instrument during 1870s, possibly even earlier.

The image capture above comes from this catalog of instruments:

Interestingly, the instrument could be used both horizontally or vertically, allowing the sample to sit horizantally when needed (this was for example essential for the measurement of the refractive angle of liquids, which they did). I have found this photo of the grand “cercle” mounted vertically (samples horizontal then), although I am afraid that whoever took this photo did not arrange “ellipsometer arms” in a reasonable configuration.

This photo is from this Italian museum

Looking for PhD candidates

I am looking for PhD cantidates to be funded by the 2022 FI scholarship program from Catalan research Agency. Students with a good academic record interested in developing a PhD in Physical Optics with a focus on the polarization of light can contact me,

More info:

Applications opened only until October 20! These are competitive positions but candidates with a good CV have a high success rate.

Local students are especially welcomed to apply.

FI scholarships offer good economic conditions and they also cover academic fees, other training activities and research stays.