We demonstrate a Mueller polarimeter in which the polarization-state generator and analyzer are both composed of a linear polarizer and two liquid-crystal variable retarders. The polarimeter is designed to optimize the accuracy of the final results by minimization of the condition numbers of the modulation and analysis matrices. The polarimeter calibration, a difficult task by conventional procedures, is achieved easily by use of the eigenvalue method of Compain et al. [Appl. Opt. 38, 3490 (1999)]. The overall polarimeter performance is tested with a linear polarizer at various angles and a compensator at various retardations.
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