Abstract

The full Mueller matrix was measured to obtain the polarization state of the scattered light for a variety of algae with different shapes, wall compositions, sizes, and refractive indices. The experimental setup was a multiple laser Mueller matrix ellipsometer, by which measurements were performed for scattering angles from 16° to 160° sampled at every second degree for wavelengths of 473nm and 532nm. Previously, the polarization of light scattered from microalgae was investigated only for a few species, and the Mueller matrix was found to have little variation between the species. In our work a total of 11 algal species were investigated, representing diatoms, dinoflagellates, coccolithophorids, green algae, and a cryptophyte. The selection of species was made to obtain high variability in shape, size, cell wall, and refractive index. As in previous investigations, very small variations were found between species for most of the Mueller matrix elements, but noticeable variations were found for M11, (M12+M21)/2 and (M33+M44)/2.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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