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Proceedings Paper

Polarization vision: a door to an unseen world
Author(s): Nadav Shashar
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Paper Abstract

Polarization vision (PV), or the sensitivity to the partial polarization and orientation of polarization of partially linearly polarized light (PLPL), is widely spread among marine animals. Humans however are mostly insensitive to polarized light and therefore the information it carries is not readily available to us. Using an imaging polarizer, capable of analyzing the linear polarization characteristics of a full image on a single pixel basis, I studied the distribution of PLPL in various oceanic environments, its reflection from various surfaces, and its use by marine animals. The polarimeter was based on two twisted nematic liquid crystals and a fixed polarizing filter in series in front of a video camera. Results revealed a great complexity in the marine polarized light environment. Further, several animals such as fish, echinoderms, and crustaceans reflected unique polarization patterns. In the horizontal line of view, the background light is more than 30% horizontally polarized. Under these conditions, transparent targets, which depolarize or rotate the orientation of polarization are expected to be conspicuous through PV. Several species of zooplankton were found to depolarize light in such a fashion. In field measurements PV enabled an increase of more than 80% in detection range for transparent depolarizing targets over intensity imaging.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 September 1997
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 3110, 10th Meeting on Optical Engineering in Israel, (22 September 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.281335
Show Author Affiliations
Nadav Shashar, Marine Biological Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3110:
10th Meeting on Optical Engineering in Israel
Itzhak Shladov; Stanley R. Rotman, Editor(s)

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