4D PolarCam Technology Demonstration

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Alongisde the FTIR experiment in Wyoming, HAO scientists will also be experimenting with a newly available visible/near-IR camera technology which we believe may have utility for future applications in solar physics research.  The visible/near-IR experiment will be comprised of an off-the-shelf photographic lens, a filter wheel with two bandpass filters, and an innovative polarization measuring system based on the 4D technology PolarCam. The PolarCam is a bio-inspired polarization sensor based on the polarization filtering micro-villi present in the compound eye of the mantis shrimp (York et al.,2014). This novel detector contains a 1.8 Mpixel CCD sensor operating at speeds up to 30 frames per second with a micro-polarizer array placed over the sensor with four alternating orientations of linear polarizers (see Figure 3). This detector will be coupled with fast-chopping ferro-electric liquid crystals to provide simultaneous measurements of all 4 Stokes parameters, with the sense of the Stokes parameter swapping at the readout rate of the camera. The new technology is simple and compact enough for future potential deployment on NASA spacecraft, including CubeSat missions.