Abstract

We present a method for calibrating a polarization state analyzer that uses a set of well- characterized reference polarization states and makes no assumptions about the optics contained in the polarimeter other than their linearity. The method requires that a matrix be constructed that contains the data acquired for each of the reference polarization states and that this matrix be pseudoinverted. Since this matrix is usually singular, we improve the method by performing the pseudoinversion by singular value decomposition, keeping only the four largest singular values. We demonstrate the calibration technique using an imaging polarimeter based upon liquid crystal variable retarders and with light emitting diode (LED) illumination centered at 472  nm, 525  nm, and 630   nm. We generate the reference polarization states by using an unpolarized source, a single polarizer, and a Fresnel rhomb. This method is particularly useful when calibrations are performed on field-grade instruments at a centrally maintained facility and when a traceability chain needs to be maintained.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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