Snapshot Spatial Heterodyne Imaging Polarimetry

Technology #ua12-046

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Michael Escuti
Associate Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering
Michael Kudenov
Assistant Research Professor, Optical Sciences
Managed By
Amy Phillips
Sr. Licensing Manager (520) 621-9579


A real time imaging Stokes polarimeter that is able to render the full linear polarization profile of a scene without the need for computational support has been designed the University of Arizona. This polarization imaging is achieved through an advanced optical design that requires no moving parts. It uses the full spectral content of a scene to form a polarization image. Electronically active components such as CCD’s or phosphorescent screens can be implemented to enable video capture or snapshot imaging, but such is not a requirement. This allows the technology to be implemented in both active and passive optical setups. Also, the design is adaptable for handheld use, making it an excellent candidate for utility grade implementation in any environment where polarimetric imaging is needed.


In any given scene, a wealth of hidden information can be unveiled through polarization imaging. Polarimeters can be used to evaluate large regions of material or terrain for materials inspection or target identification. The ability to acquire this information quickly allows this modality to be used in scenes that change quickly in time, and many types of polarimeters have been designed to accomplish this goal. However, few are able to render the polarization information without computer control. Either image post-processing is required, or advanced control of optical components is needed. The ability to render polarization information from a scene without the assistance of a computer implies a design that has no moving parts and that can be implemented passively. Such technology would enable the adaptation of polarimetric imaging to many forms ranging from microscopes to rifle scopes. Furthermore, capturing this information across a wide spectral band would provide an ideal polarimeter that is capable of making full use of the spectral content within a scene.


  • Fast rendering of polarization information in a scene.
  • Image post processing not needed.
  • Full spectral content of the scene is analyzed.
  • Design adaptable for handheld use.
  • Does not require computational support.


  • Real time polarization imaging.
  • Industrial process monitoring.
  • Defense and security.


Michael Kudenov


Amy Phillips

Licensing Manager, Tech Launch Arizona

Refer to technology # UA12-046