Abstract

Polarization-difference imaging (PDI) was recently presented by us as a method of imaging through scattering media [Opt. Lett. 20, 608 (1995)]. Here, PDI is compared with conventional, polarization-blind imaging systems under a variety of conditions not previously studied. Through visual and numerical comparison of polarization-difference and polarization-sum images of metallic targets suspended in scattering media, target features initially visible in both types of images are shown to disappear in polarization-sum images as the scatterer concentration is increased, whereas these features remain visible in polarization-difference images. Target features producing an observed degree of linear polarization of less than 1% are visible in polarization-difference images. The ability of PDI to suppress partially polarized background variations selectively is demonstrated, and discrimination of target features on the basis of polarization information is discussed. Our results show that, when compared with conventional imaging, PDI yields a factor of 2–3 increase in the distance at which certain target features can be detected.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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