Depolarization of diffusely reflecting man-made objects

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The polarization properties of light scattered or diffusely reflected from seven different man-made samples are studied. For each diffusely reflecting sample an in-plane Mueller matrix bidirectional reflectance distribution function is measured at a fixed bistatic angle using a Mueller matrix imaging polarimeter. The measured profile of depolarization index with changing scattering geometry for most samples is well approximated by an inverted Gaussian function. Depolarization is minimum for specular reflection and increases asymptotically in a Gaussian fashion as the angles of incidence and scatter increase. Parameters of the Gaussian profiles fitted to the depolarization data are used to compare samples. The dependence of depolarization on the incident polarization state is compared for each Stokes basis vector: horizontal, vertical, 45°, 135°, and right- and left-circular polarized light. Linear states exhibit similar depolarization profiles that typically differ in value by less than 0.06 (where 1.0 indicates complete depolarization). Circular polarization states are depolarized more than linear states for all samples tested, with the output degree of polarization reduced from that of linear states by as much as 0.15. The depolarization difference between linear and circular states varies significantly between samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5434-5445
Number of pages12
JournalApplied optics
Issue number26
StatePublished - Sep 10 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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