Polarimetry of scattered light using heterodyne detection

M. Harris, D. J. Wilson, J Mallot, M. Handley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Heterodyne detection has been used to measure the polarization state of light back-scattered from various targets (including flame-sprayed aluminium, sandpaper and painted surfaces). The samples are illuminated with a linearly polarized single-frequency continuous-wave CO2 laser operating at a wavelength of 10.6µm. The back-scattered co-polarized and cross-polarized components are both coherently detected by beating with an optical local oscillator. This process allows the relative amplitudes and phases of the two components to be measured and hence the light's polarization state can be evaluated. When the target undergoes movement, the scattered light demonstrates the usual properties of dynamic speckle, and the technique allows observation of the time evolution of the polarization ellipse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721-728
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Modern Optics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 1999


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