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A division-of-amplitude photopolarimeter (DOAP) is described that employs a diffraction grating in the conventional spectrometer orientation with the grating grooves normal to the plane of incidence. Four coplanar diffracted orders are used for polarimetric analysis to determine all four Stokes parameters of incident light simultaneously and virtually instantaneously (with the speed being determined solely by the photodetectors and their associated electronics); a fifth order is used for alignment by autocollimation or by use of a position-sensing quadrant detector. To sensitize the instrument for the +45° and -45° azimuths of incident linearly polarized light and for the handedness of incident circular polarization (i.e., for the third and fourth Stokes parameters), we insert two linear polarizers in two diffracted orders with their transmission axes inclined at appropriate angles with respect to the plane of incidence. The calibration and testing of an instrument of this type that uses an Al-coated 600-groove/mm holographic grating at 632.8-nm wavelength are reported as an example.

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Journal of the Optical Society of America A


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