A white-light snapshot channeled linear imaging (CLI) polarimeter is demonstrated by utilizing polarization gratings (PGs). The CLI polarimeter is capable of measuring the two-dimensional distribution of the linear Stokes polarization parameters by incorporating two identical PGs, in series, along the optical axis. In this configuration, the general optical shearing functionality of a uniaxial crystal-based Savart plate is realized. However, unlike a Savart plate, the diffractive nature of the PGs creates a linear dependence of the shear versus wavelength, thus providing broadband functionality. Consequently, by incorporating the PG-based Savart plate into a Savart plate channeled imaging polarimeter, white-light interference fringes can be generated. This enables polarimetric image data to be acquired at shorter exposure times in daylight conditions, making it more appealing over the quasi-monochromatic channeled imaging polarimeters previously described in the literature. Furthermore, the PG-based device offers significantly more compactness, field of view, optical simplicity, and vibration insensitivity than previously described white-light CLI polarimeters based on Sagnac interferometers. Included in this paper are theoretical descriptions of the linear (, , and ) and complete (, , , and ) channeled Stokes imaging polarimeters. Additionally, descriptions of our calibration procedures and our experimental proof of concept CLI system are provided. These are followed by laboratory and outdoor polarimetric measurements of , , and .
© 2011 Optical Society of America
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