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Optical Engineering

Polarization measurements using a commercial off-the-shelf digital camera
Author(s): Roy M. Matchko; Grant R. Gerhart
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Paper Abstract

This paper presents a methodology to obtain polarization profiles using a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) digital camera. It contains calibration techniques to ensure robust and accurate determination of the Stokes parameters and the system polarization state. It calculates the Stokes parameters for each scene pixel along with the degree of polarization, azimuth, and ellipticity angles for each of the RGB channels. A detailed calculation shows that the quasimonochromatic approximation for the wavelength dependence of the quarterwave plate can be extended to include the broadband RGB channels. A simple and inexpensive camera calibration converts RGB values to optical density and then to relative intensity values. An analysis is presented for the wavelength-dependent response of the tuned zero-order quartz quarterwave retarder, the broadband RGB channels, and the fourth Stokes parameter. The noise characteristics of the digital camera are analyzed along with a detailed calibration of the imagery for target characterization applications. An extensive validation process, using white light, compares calculated theoretical results with the empirical results from the COTS camera. A RGB pseudocoloring scheme, related to the Poincaré sphere, is introduced for the visualization of polarization parameters of daylight scenes.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 February 2005
PDF: 10 pages
Opt. Eng. 44(2) 023604 doi: 10.1117/1.1847655
Published in: Optical Engineering Volume 44, Issue 2
Show Author Affiliations
Roy M. Matchko, U.S. Army (United States)
Grant R. Gerhart, U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Ctr. (United States)

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