Abstract

Two methods used to retrieve Mueller matrices from intensity measurements are revisited. It is shown that with symmetry or orthogonality considerations, numerical inversions of polarimetric equations can be avoided. With the obtained analytical formulas, noise propagation can be analyzed. If the intensity noise is a Gaussian white noise, the noise of Mueller matrices features remarkable properties. Mueller components are mutually correlated according to a scheme that involves decomposition into four blocks of 2×2 matrices. Variances are unequally distributed: the middle 2×2 block has the highest variance, the element on the bottom right has the lowest. These characteristics have been validated on experimental Mueller images of the free space.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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