How to model the oblique incidence onto polarization optics like Jones Matrix in Zemax?

  • 19 September 2023
  • 2 replies

Hi all,


For Jones Matrix in Zemax, according to the definition, I think it is only designed for normal incidence. However, what if I want to model the oblique incidence onto the half-wave plate (HWP) which I use Jones Matrix in Zemax non-sequential mode? I tried it and found the energy is not conserved. Does that mean we have to design some new HWP by ourself or is there any other avaiable surface can be modeled as HWP for oblique incidence in Zemax?



2 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +3

Hi Kaden,

The short answer is that you should only use Jones matrices with on-axis rays.

The long answer is:

The Jones Matrix is a 2-D array and uses Jx and Jy only. When we think of a general 3-D ray intersecting it, the resulting ray must satisfy the condition

k.E = Ex.l + Ey.m +Ez.n = 0

before and after the Jones matrix

Note the transition from Jx, Jy to Ex, Ey and Ez. The Z-component of the E-field is not defined by the Jones surface, so we calculate it with the boundary condition that the magnitude of E cannot increase, only decrease. As a result, there is energy lost.

This is as good as a 2D representation of a 3D component gets. To get better results, use the birefringent ray tracing capability to model the waveplate or polarizer. This will give the full 3D result.

Hope that helps,

  • Mark


Userlevel 5
Badge +3

Hi Karen,

There are two alternative ways to model the polarizing elements.

DLL (Diffractive): Jones Matrix NSC | Zemax Community

Birdbath architecture for augmented reality (AR) system - part 2 – Accurate polarizing element simulation – Knowledgebase (