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Opt Express. 2007 Nov 12;15(23):15161-7.

The effects of thermal equilibrium and contrast in LWIR polarimetric images.


Long-wave infrared (LWIR) polarimetric signatures provide the potential for day-night detection and identification of objects in remotely sensed imagery. The source of optical energy in the LWIR is usually due to thermal emission from the object in question, which makes the signature dependent primarily on the target and not on the external environment. In this paper we explore the impact of thermal equilibrium and the temperature of (unseen) background objects on LWIR polarimetric signatures. We demonstrate that an object can completely lose its polarization signature when it is in thermal equilibrium with its optical background, even if it has thermal contrast with the objects that appear behind it in the image.

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