Stokes parameters of light in a modified Young's double-slit experiment
Analysis of wave interference has focused mainly on intensity patterns, although knowledge of polarization modulation is equally significant. In this study, we use a modified Young's double-slit experiment to unveil maps of polarization patterns from the superposition of two orthogonally polarized wave fields. To reveal these maps, we insert a rotating quarter wave plate and an analyzer before the detection screen in the classic experiment. We show that the polarization state and its degree exhibit spatial variations besides intensity modulation. Specifically, we see transitions between the linear and circular states of polarization that are associated with the Stokes parameters S2 and S3, respectively. Based on our simulations, these arise from the phase difference between the incident waves with orthogonal polarizations. Our results may have implications for studying the navigational capabilities of organisms that rely on polarized light changes.