Considerations in polarimeter design

J. Scott Tyo

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The relationship between system condition and SNR in reconstructed Stokes parameter images is investigated for rotating compensator, variable retardance, and rotating analyzer Stokes vector polarimeters. A variety of optimal configurations are presented for each class of systems. The operation of polarimeters is discussed in terms of a 4-dimensional vector space, and the concept of non-orthogonal bases, frames, and tight frames are introduced to describe this class of devices. While SNR is an important consideration, performance of a polarimeter in the presence of systematic error is also important. Here, the relationship between system condition and error performance is investigated, and it is shown that an optimum system from the point of view of SNR is not always an optimum system with respect to error performance. Finally, the concepts used to optimize Stokes vector polarimeters are extended to be useful for full Mueller matrix polarimeters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-74
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes
EventPolarization Analisys, Measurement, and Remote Sensing III - San Diego, USA
Duration: Aug 2 2000Aug 4 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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