Experimental Mueller Matrix Images of Liquid Crystalline Domains in Synthetic Clay Dispersions.
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- Institutt for fysikk 
This report is a study of how polarized light can improve our understandings of physical phenomena, such as local organization of anisometric nanoparticles dispersed in a liquid.The first part of the thesis considers the theoretical aspects of polarized light. The Maxwell's equations are considered together with the Stokes formalism and the Mueller matrix. The Mueller matrix is analyzed in depth by looking at different ways it can be decomposed into several matrices, each clearly representing the physical phenomena of depolarization, diattenuation and retardance. The physics behind the phenomena will then be shortly addressed.The second part of the thesis describes the Mueller Matrix Imaging (MMI) ellipsometer, developed in the Applied Optics Group at NTNU. The results of Mueller imaging of air will be presented and discussed in order to get more understanding of the ellipsometer.The third and main part of the thesis, focuses on applying the MMI ellipsometer in order to study complex phenomena in clay dispersion. By looking at the development of samples of aqueous clay dispersions, the creation of different phases will be recorded. Some of those phases have crystalline properties and a Mueller matrix imaging can reveal much about its structure. A decomposition of the Mueller matrix can tell even more about the properties of the phases.