First results from an uncooled LWIR polarimeter for cubesat deployment

Kira A. Hart, Meredith Kupinski, Dong Wu, Russell A. Chipman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


A compact long-wave infrared (LWIR) channeled spectro-polarimeter (IRCSP) has been developed for integration into the NASA Earth Science Technology Office (ESTO) funded submm-wave and LWIR polarimeters project to measure the microphysical properties of cloud ice. Once deployed, the IRCSP will produce the first linear Stokes measurements (S0, S1, S2) of upper-tropospheric cirrus clouds from 8.5 to 12.5 μm. For the first time, a compact, light-weight, and uncooled LWIR polarimeter with off-the-shelf thermal optical components is demonstrated. We report narrowband calibration measurements which quantify metrics of polarimetric system performance. The response of the system to linearly polarized light is shown to agree with both a Mueller matrix model and modulation function for narrowband calibration measurements with an R2 > 0.98 from 8 to 11 μm. The polarimetric efficiency is >0.8 from 8 to 11 μm for narrowband measurements indicating satisfactory performance of the polarization optics. Beyond 11 μm, the agreement is significantly reduced as thermal noise compounds with reduced detector response. Ultimately, the observed system performance is limited by the spectral response of the detector past 11 μm in addition to the thermal noise inherent for the measurements at room temperature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number075103
JournalOptical Engineering
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • LWIR
  • cloud ice
  • polarimetry
  • polarization
  • remote sensing
  • spectropolarimeter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Engineering(all)


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