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Degree of polarization (DOP) is a quantity used to describe the portion of an electromagnetic wave which is polarized. A perfectly polarized wave has a DOP of 100%, whereas an unpolarized wave has a DOP of 0%. A wave which is partially polarized, and therefore can be represented by a superposition of a polarized and unpolarized component, will have a DOP somewhere in between 0 and 100%. DOP is calculated as the fraction of the total power that is carried by the polarised component of the wave.
DOP can be used to map the strain field in materials when considering the DOP of the photoluminescence. The polarization of the photoluminescence is related to the strain in a material by way of the given material's photoelasticity tensor.