There is an inverse relationship between surface brightness and polarization in the wavelength range from the ultraviolet to the near infrared. This relationship was first observed by the French astronomers B. Lyot and A. Dollfus in the early 20th century for planetary surfaces and laboratory models. The relationship was later confirmed principally by Egan and his coworkers in the Grumman Research Department in lunar simulation experiments prior to the Lunar Module landing. The observations indicate that the percent polarization (The percent polarization is the ratio of the difference between two orthogonal polarized measurements ratioed to the sum multiplied by 100) is an inverse function of the surface brightness (albedo). The Grumman instrument was a unique large scale polarimeter/photometer that allowed measurements not only of coated surfaces, but of particulates or structural surfaces up to 10 centimeters in diameter. It was found that, for instance, a diffuse surface having a reflectance of 2% could have a percent polarization of nearly 100%. The polarization was found to be a function of the optical complex index of refraction of the surface and the surface structure, and the relationship was found to be true for farm soils, agricultural and forested areas and was useful to characterize them. Astronomical and recent laboratory data will be presented to illustrate the relationship. More recent polarimeters will be discussed that permit polarization measurements accurate to plus or minus 0.1% from 0 to 100%.
Walter G. Egan, Walter G. Egan,
"Inverse relationship between surface brightness and polarization", Proc. SPIE 3784, Rough Surface Scattering and Contamination, (25 October 1999); doi: 10.1117/12.366706; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.366706