Measuring the polarization of optical beams, which is fully characterized by their four–parameter Stokes vector, is needed for applications in several areas such as biology, material characterization, or communications. Table-top polarimeters installed in research labs enable accurately determining the Stokes vector, by analyzing the incident light with rotating or electrically–modulated polarization elements and a detector. However, such a configuration is not practical for field measurements because it usually causes a limited device robustness. In this context, Shuhei Shibata and coworkers propose a polarimeter design which enables a characterization of the Stokes vector without moving nor electrically–modulated elements. The incident beam is separated by a suitably designed beamsplitter assembly into three beams with the same polarization. These three beams are sent onto suitably oriented polarized beam splitters, one of them after passing through a quarter-wave plate. This yields six beams whose intensities measured by six detectors give access to the normalized Stokes parameters. The proposed design enables real-time measurements at 30 KHz with errors below 1%.
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