The European Physical Journal Applied Physics

Characterization of Materials: Imaging, Microscopy and Spectroscopy

Active spectro-polarimetric imaging: signature modeling, imaging demonstrator and target detection

M. Alouinia1, F. Goudaila2, N. Rouxa3, L. Le Horsa4, P. Hartemanna1, S. Breugnota4 and D. Dolfia1

Thales Research & Technology - France, RD 128, 91767 Palaiseau Cedex, France

Laboratoire Charles Fabry de l'Institut d'Optique, CNRS, Univ Paris-Sud, Campus Polytechnique, RD 128, 91127 Palaiseau, France

Physics and Image Processing Group/Fresnel Institute, Domaine Universitaire de Saint-Jérôme, 13397 Marseille Cedex 20, France

Thales Oprtonics Thales Optronique SA, rue Guynemer, BP 55, 78283 Guyancourt Cedex, France


We report on the synthesis of our work on the analysis of active spectro-polarimetric imaging concept of real-world scenes. These synthesis extend from the investigation of depolarization mechanisms up to image analysis and processing. We show in particular that depolarization effects are wavelength dependent and strongly correlated with light absorption of materials. Multi-wavelength images of degree of polarization are recorded and analyzed, evidencing that the polarimetric image must be interpreted in conjunction with its counterpart intensity image in order to extract, the most relevant information from the scene. For real field operation, the noise characteristics of polarimetric images are also investigated under coherent laser illumination. The potential increase of target detection performance brought by properly processing the active polarimetric image is illustrated on a very low contrast scene.

(Received October 16 2007)

(Revised January 11 2008)

(Accepted January 15 2008)

(Online publication March 28 2008)


  • 42.25.Ja – Polarization;
  • 42.30.Va – Image forming and processing