Linear polarization sensitivity specifications for spaceborne instruments

Peter W. Maymon, Russell A. Chipman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

24 Scopus citations


The radiometric accuracy of space-borne instruments such as radiometers and spectroradiometers which make measurements of the earth and other celestial objects can be compromised by the linear polarization sensitivity (LPS) induced by the optical system. Most of these optical systems contain optical elements whose reflectance or transmission is polarization dependent, such as diffraction gratings, folding and scanning mirrors, dichroic filters, and optical fibers. Optical systems incorporating such elements generally display linear polarization sensitivity; different linear polarization states incident with equal radiometric power are measured as different power levels. If the incident polarization state is unknown, the linear polarization sensitivity cannot be compensated during the data reduction. The light reflected from the earth and other planets and moons is usually partially linearly polarized, but in a random distribution. Thus, to make accurate radiometric measurements of these bodies, a radiometer or spectrometer should have a low level of linear polarization sensitivity. This paper contains a mathematical description of LPS, contains references to systems which have imposed an LPS specification, describes some of the sources of LPS, describes how to model LPS by polarization ray tracing, and discusses methods to reduce the LPS of an optical system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
PublisherPubl by Int Soc for Optical Engineering
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)0819409197
StatePublished - 1992
EventPolarization Analysis and Measurement - San Diego, CA, USA
Duration: Jul 19 1992Jul 21 1992

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherPolarization Analysis and Measurement
CitySan Diego, CA, USA

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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