Optical EngineeringMueller matrix imaging polarimetry
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The design and operation of a Mueller matrix imaging polarimeter is presented. The instrument is configurable to make a wide variety of polarimetric measurements of optical systems and samples. In one configuration, it measures the polarization properties of a set of ray paths through a sample. The sample may comprise a single element, such as a lens, polarizer, retarder, spatial light modulator, or beamsplitter, or an entire optical system containing many elements. In a second configuration, it measures an optical system's point spread matrix, a Mueller matrix relating the polarization state of a point object to the distribution of intensity and polarization across the image. The instrument is described and a number of example measurements are provided that demonstrate the Mueller matrix imaging polarimeter's unique measurement capability.