Five-dimensional optical instrumentation: combining polarimetry with time-resolved integral-field spectroscopy


We present implementations of optical instrumentation that records five dimensions of light: polarization state as a function of wavelength, two spatial dimensions, and time. We focus on the optimal integration of polarimetry within microlens-based integral-field spectroscopy. The polarimetric analyzer (or beam- splitter) and dispersing element could be implemented separately, but also amalgamated in the form of a polarization grating. We present optimizations for stacking the polarization- split spectra on a 2D detector. The polarimetric modulation can be performed in the temporal, the spatial or the spectral domain. Temporal modulation could be set up with achromatic optics conform the Stokes definition scheme, but a wide wavelength range generally demands a ``polychromatic’’ modulation approach for which the modulation efficiency for all or some of the Stokes parameters is optimized at every wavelength. Spectral modulation (full-Stokes or optimized for linear polarization) yields instruments without any moving parts, for which all polarization information is obtained in one shot. We present first results from two polarimetric IFU instruments; the ExPo pIFU and LOUPE. The first is based on a rapid polychromatic modulator consisting of two FLCs and two fixed retarders, while the latter is based on spectral modulation for linear polarization. In addition to applications within astronomy and planetary science, we discuss remote- sensing applications for such instruments.