A mathematical procedure is presented for the determination of the transmission properties (instrumental operator) of an instrument with respect to the polarization state of any arbitrarily polarized radiation. This method is applied to a complete polarimeter system in order to find the systematic error of the polarization measurements. If the operator of the polarimeter is known, the systematic error can be removed. However, inaccuracy of determination of it produces errors that are in addition to the random errors. With the cumulative effects of errors taken into account, the over-all accuracy of the polarization measurements can be calculated.
© 1976 Optical Society of America
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