Graded index (GRIN) lenses focus light through a radially symmetric refractive index profile. It is not widely appreciated that the ion-exchange process that creates the index profile also causes a radially symmetric birefringence variation. This property is usually considered a nuisance, such that manufacturing processes are optimized to keep it to a minimum. Here, a new Mueller matrix (MM) polarimeter based on a spatially engineered polarization state generating array and GRIN lens cascade for measuring the MM of a region of a sample in a single-shot is presented. We explore using the GRIN lens cascade for a functional analyzer to calculate multiple Stokes vectors and the MM of the target in a snapshot. A designed validation sample is used to test the reliability of this polarimeter. To understand more potential biomedical applications, human breast ductal carcinoma slides at two pathological progression stages are detected by this polarimeter. The MM polar decomposition parameters then can be calculated from the measured MMs, and quantitatively compared with the equivalent data sampled by a MM microscope. The results indicate that the polarimeter and the measured polarization parameters are capable of differentiating the healthy and carcinoma status of human breast tissue efficiently. It has potential to act as a polarization detected fiber-based probe to assist further minimally invasive clinical diagnosis.
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Chao He, Jintao Chang, Honghui He, Shaoxiong Liu, Daniel S. Elson, Hui Ma, Martin J. Booth, "GRIN lens based polarization endoscope: from conception to application," Proc. SPIE 11251, Label-free Biomedical Imaging and Sensing (LBIS) 2020, 112510Z (20 February 2020); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2545516