We describe a measuring system for determining the state of polarization of a beam of light in terms of its Stokes parameters. The technique which can be fully automated incorporates a monochromator and single photon counting detection and can thus be applied over a large wavelength range for very weak optical signals. Fourier transformation of the data by an on-line minicomputer allows immediate calculation of the Stokes parameters. We discuss special applications to light emitted from excited atomic systems with and without cylindrical symmetry.
© 1977 Optical Society of America
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