Polarimeter calibration error gets far out of control

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

1 Scopus citations


This is a sad story about a polarization calibration error gone amuck. A simple laboratory mistake was mistaken for a new phenomena. Aggressive management did their job and sold the flawed idea very effectively and substantial funding followed. Questions were raised and a Government lab tried but couldn't to recreate the breakthrough. The results were unpleasant and the field of infrared polarimetry developed a bad reputation for several years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAn Optical Believe It or Not
Subtitle of host publicationKey Lessons Learned IV
EditorsMark A. Kahan
ISBN (Electronic)9781628417494
StatePublished - 2015
EventAn Optical Believe It or Not: Key Lessons Learned IV - San Diego, United States
Duration: Aug 10 2015 → …

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherAn Optical Believe It or Not: Key Lessons Learned IV
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego
Period8/10/15 → …


  • Calibration
  • Infrared polarimetry
  • Polarimetry
  • Polarization
  • Retarders

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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