Total internal reflection occurs when light is incident on the interface of high- and low-refractive-index materials at an angle greater than the critical angle. Sunlight with high degree of linear polarization, such as atmospheric scattered skylight, can be converted with a high efficiency up to 53% to circular and elliptical polarizations by total internal reflection under water in the region outside Snell’s window. The degree of circular polarization is observed to be inversely dependent on the albedo of underwater objects and is shown to be a direct consequence of the Umov effect. Our results are important for underwater polarimetry, surveillance applications and studies of marine animals’ polarized vision near the water-air interface.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics