A novel interferometric polarimeter capable of mapping a spatiotemporal change in the state of polarization (SOP) of light is described. The polarimeter has a reference beam of light with two orthogonal linearly polarized components that interfere with the counterpart components of an elliptically polarized signal beam. The resultant interference pattern is recorded by a computer by the use of a wideband metal-oxide semiconductor video camera. The interference pattern reduces to the ellipticity and azimuth of the ellipse at an instant of time, by which the spatiotemporal change in the SOP is mapped. No optical elements are used for the control of polarization in the polarimeter, and this allows for the mapping of a rapid change in the SOP. Successful experiments are demonstrated by generating an elliptically polarized beam whose SOP varies in space and time.
© 1994 Optical Society of America
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