Characterization of a division-of-focal-plane polarization imager

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Engineering


Polarization is a fundamental property of light that can be detected with polarization-sensitive instruments. Imaging polarimetry has an immensely wide range of applications, and while much has been accomplished in recent years, there is still a need for sensor systems with improved accuracy, precision, and stability. This paper presents the optical characterization of a commercial division-of-focal plane (DoFP) polarization imager, in an effort to evaluate its performance as a promising instrument in the application of ground-based cloud thermodynamic phase detection. Radiometric characterization values were well within the acceptable region, but the polarimetric contrast was in the range of 20-30, much lower than expected, which may be a result of the broadband measurements being impaired by poor polarizer performance at the blue end of the spectrum. Later, a narrowband polarimetric measurement at 532 + or - 5 nm produced a much enhanced result, with polarimetric contrast in the higher 300s, making the imager a viable option for many remote sensing applications. Also, all-sky imaging of clear daytime sky and its analysis of degree of linear polarization (DoLP) showed encouraging result.




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