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Proceedings Paper

Computer-aided polarimetry involving nonideal optical components
Author(s): John R. Engel
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Paper Abstract

Polarimeter design often involves the use of the Mueller matrix formalism. For relatively simple, idealized optical systems this formalism provides elegant results. However, when polarimeters have several optical components and their imperfections are considered, the Mueller calculus can become complex. With the computing power readily available today it is possible to perform the Mueller calculus in software, both symbolically and numerically. This capability makes it feasible to design and operate polarimeters having complicated intensity functions due to non-ideal optical components. Using a generalized linear least squares method it is possible to recover source polarization from intensity measurements even if a polarimeter has imperfect components. What this requires is a determination of the polarimeter's modulation functions, either by computer modelling or by direct measurement using a known Stokes source. We discuss our work implementing computer-aided polarimetry using the Mueller calculus and application of this methodology for doing polarimetry with non-ideal optical components. In particular, we present results of a computer simulation of an imaging polarimeter which has a quarter-wave plate with nonuniform retardance. Our results indicate that by the polarimetry approach discussed here this retardance `imperfection' will not prevent the polarimeter from accurately measuring the source polarization.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 December 1992
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 1746, Polarization Analysis and Measurement, (11 December 1992); doi: 10.1117/12.138802
Show Author Affiliations
John R. Engel, Western Research Co., Inc. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1746:
Polarization Analysis and Measurement
Dennis H. Goldstein; Russell A. Chipman, Editor(s)

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