Abstract

Estimation variances of the main polarimetric parameters (Stokes vector, degree of polarization, azimuth, and ellipticity) are derived for arbitrary Stokes measurement matrices in the presence of additive and Poisson shot noise. The obtained theoretical expressions, which are rather involved, are checked extensively with Monte Carlo simulations and their physical meaning is interpreted. The great benefit of these formulas is to enable comparisons of polarimeter architectures on a quantitative basis. As an example, we compare the optimal architectures based on spherical designs with a suboptimal one that may be easier to implement.

© 2019 Optical Society of America

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