An imaging variable retardance polarimeter was developed and tested by Tyo and Turner [Proc. SPIE 3753, 214 (1999)]. The signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) in the reconstructed polarization images obtained with this system varied for the four Stokes parameters. The difference in SNR is determined to be due to differences in the Euclidean lengths of the rows of the synthesis matrix used to reconstruct the Stokes parameters from the measured intensity data. I equalize (and minimize) the lengths of the rows of this matrix by minimizing the condition number of the synthesis matrix, thereby maximizing the relative importance of each of the polarimeter measurements. The performance of the optimized system is demonstrated with simulated data, and the SNR is shown to increase from a worst case of for the original settings to a worst case of for the optimized system.
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