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Proceedings Paper

Liquid crystal tunable polarization filter for target detection applications
Author(s): Bruce Winker; Dong-Feng Gu; Bing Wen; Karen Zachery; John Mansell; Donald Taber; Keith Sage; William Gunning; Mario Aguilar
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Paper Abstract

Many natural materials produce polarization signatures, but man-made objects, typically having more planar or smoother surfaces, tend to produce relatively strong polarization signatures. These signatures, when used in combination with other means, can significantly aid in the detection of man-made objects. To explore the utility of polarization signatures for target detection applications we have developed a new type of polarimetric imaging sensor based on tunable liquid crystal components. Current state-of-the-art polarimetric sensors employ numerous types of imaging polarimeters, the most common of which are aperture division, micropolarizer, and rotating polarizer/analyzer. Our design uses an electronically tunable device that rotates the polarization of incoming light followed by a single fixed oriented linear polarizer. Its unique features include: 1) sub-millisecond response time switching speed, 2) ~75% transmission throughput, 3) no loss of sensor resolution, 4) zero mechanical moving parts, 5) broadband (~75% of center wavelength), 6) ~100:1 contrast ratio, 7) wide acceptance angle (±10°), and 8) compact and monolithic architecture (~10 inch3). This paper summarizes our tunable liquid crystal polarimetric imaging sensor architecture, benefits of our design, analysis of laboratory and field data, and the applicability of polarization signatures in target detection applications.

Paper Details

Date Published: 31 March 2008
PDF: 18 pages
Proc. SPIE 6972, Polarization: Measurement, Analysis, and Remote Sensing VIII, 697209 (31 March 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.779997
Show Author Affiliations
Bruce Winker, Teledyne Scientific and Imaging, LLC (United States)
Dong-Feng Gu, Teledyne Scientific and Imaging, LLC (United States)
Bing Wen, Teledyne Scientific and Imaging, LLC (United States)
Karen Zachery, Teledyne Scientific and Imaging, LLC (United States)
John Mansell, Teledyne Scientific and Imaging, LLC (United States)
Donald Taber, Teledyne Scientific and Imaging, LLC (United States)
Keith Sage, Teledyne Scientific and Imaging, LLC (United States)
William Gunning, Teledyne Scientific and Imaging, LLC (United States)
Mario Aguilar, Teledyne Scientific and Imaging, LLC (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6972:
Polarization: Measurement, Analysis, and Remote Sensing VIII
David B. Chenault; Dennis H. Goldstein, Editor(s)

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