The effects of thermal equilibrium and contrast in LWIR Polarimetric images

J. Scott Tyo, Bradley M. Ratliff, James K. Boger, Wiley T. Black, David L. Bowers, Matthew P. Fetrow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Long-wave infrared (LWIR) Polarimetric signatures provide the potential for day-night detection and identification of objects in remotely sensed imagery. The source of optical energy in the LWIR is usually due to thermal emission from the object in question, which makes the signature dependent primarily on the target and not on the external environment. In this paper we explore the impact of thermal equilibrium and the temperature of (unseen) background objects on LWIR Polarimetric signatures. We demonstrate that an object can completely lose its polarization signature when it is in thermal equilibrium with its optical background, even if it has thermal contrast with the objects that appear behind it in the image.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15161-15167
Number of pages7
JournalOptics Express
Issue number23
StatePublished - Nov 12 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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