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On the basis of the unified theory of coherence and polarization, we investigate the behavior of the state of polarization of a stochastic electromagnetic beam in a Gaussian cavity. Formulations both in terms of Stokes parameters and in terms of polarization ellipse are given. We show that the state of polarization stabilizes, except in the case of a lossless cavity, after several passages between the mirrors, exhibiting monotonic or oscillatory behavior depending on the parameters of the resonator. We also find that an initially (spatially) uniformly polarized beam remains nonuniformly polarized even for a large number of passages between the mirrors of the cavity.


This paper was published in Journal of the Optical Society of America A and is made available as an electronic reprint with the permission of OSA. The paper can be found at the following URL on the OSA website: tp:// Systematic or multiple reproduction or distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.

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