Dual-photoelastic-modulator-based polarimetric imaging concept for aerosol remote sensing

David J. Diner, Ab Davis, Bruce Hancock, Gary Gutt, Russell A. Chipman, Brian Cairns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


A dual-photoelastic-modulator- (PEM-) based spectropolarimetric camera concept is presented as an approach for global aerosol monitoring from space. The most challenging performance objective is to measure degree of linear polarization (DOLP) with an uncertainty of less than 0.5% in multiple spectral bands, at moderately high spatial resolution, over a wide field of view, and for the duration of a multiyear mission. To achieve this, the tandem PEMs are operated as an electro-optic circular retardance modulator within a high-performance reflective imaging system. Operating the PEMs at slightly different resonant frequencies generates a beat signal that modulates the polarized component of the incident light at a much lower heterodyne frequency. The Stokes parameter ratio q = Q/I is obtained from measurements acquired from each pixel during a single frame, providing insensitivity to pixel responsivity drift and minimizing polarization artifacts that conventionally arise when this quantity is derived from differences in the signals from separate detectors. Similarly, u = U/I is obtained from a different pixel; q and u are then combined to form the DOLP. A detailed accuracy and tolerance analysis for this polarimeter is presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8428-8445
Number of pages18
JournalApplied optics
Issue number35
StatePublished - Dec 10 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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