Polarization sensing cameras
Myhre, Graham College of Optical Sciences, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.
Pau, Stanley College of Optical Sciences, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.
- Camera types
- Stokes vector representation
- Polarimeter configurations
- Stokes images
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Color is intuitive to people, because we can perceive it visually, but polarization is a less obvious property of light. Light is a wave, and therefore it has a direction of travel, wavelength, and polarization. The direction is where the light is headed, the wavelength (color) is the distance between crests of the wave, and the polarization is the orientation of the oscillation (Fig. 1a). If the wave oscillates along a single axis, it is said to be linearly polarized. If the oscillations rotate as the wave travels, it is elliptically or circularly polarized. Although humans are unable to sense polarization, many animals can sense polarized light. This ability is traditionally associated with behavioral tasks such as determining orientation or navigation. However, recently it has also been shown that animals can use this polarization vision for contrast enhancement, camouflage breaking, object recognition, and signaling.
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