Applications of the passive portable polarimeter include space missions for earth climate and resource monitoring as well as moon surface studies. Scenes of interest for climate and earth resource monitoring include aerosols, dust and smoke, water and ice clouds, greenhouse gases, vegetation and ground surfaces, hydrosols, oceanic biogeochemistry related to color dissolved organic matter (CDOM), phytoplankton blooms, and chlorophyll density. Extension of measurements to wavelengths as short as ~280 nm is desired for more complete characterization and monitoring of aerosol and ocean color properties that are associated with the effects of climate change. Monitoring of sources of aerosols such as wind-blown dust, industrial air and water pollution, biomass burning, and ocean hydrosols will be advanced. Data collected at shorter wavelengths with the polarimeter will improve accuracy of satellite climate-related retrievals such as those generated by MODIS and VIIRS systems. An additional application is for secure undersea and atmospheric communications. The discrimination of man-made surfaces (textures) from natural surfaces is made possible, and applications include homeland security, battlefield, and vehicle and aircraft detection. In aviation, automotive, and marine environments, distinguishing layers of ice from liquid water on wings can provide hazard warning. Detection of cancerous cells and disease identification is made possible through polarization imaging.
Our novel polarimeter design can be applied to several commercial industries including medical, aviation, and automotive. Polarimetry can be used in medical and clinical trials to detect and identify abnormal scatter patterns due to burns and melanoma and in deeper tissues. Analysis of the polarized light scattered by biological media such as skin and tissues contains surface texture and microstructure information might be useful in disease identification and wound healing progress. Detection of cancerous cells is made possible through polarization imaging . Recent research has suggested that cancerous protein and DNA products in blood can be identified through interaction with circular polarization that is induced by the chiroptical activity of gold nano particles Natural surfaces exhibit different light scattering properties than man-made surfaces, and through polarimetry, a more complete characterization can be made, thus permitting the ability to distinguish the two surfaces. For example, large differences in polarization, linear and elliptical, are found between metals and dielectrics such as paint and glass. Distinguishing ice-coated surfaces from liquid water coatings on wings by polarimetry can provide hazard warning.