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As clearly illustrated by the example in Fig. 23.1, light polarization provides information about scenes in optical imaging that is not available with conventional imaging systems. This property of light has been used for the study of different phenomena in crystallography, astronomy, underwater optical imaging, medical imaging, quality control, 3D scene analysis, etc., and is gaining more interest, thus deserving the introductory review proposed by this chapter. The use of light polarization in optical imaging has great potential because it not only gives access to additional physical information but it also may introduce a controlled degree of redundancy and therefore robustness in some difficult image and scene analysis situations. In this chapter, following a review of the physical bases of partially polarized light and its relation to scattering and imaging (Sect. 23.2), we describe the principles of advanced imaging systems designed to grasp polarimetric information (Sect. 23.3).
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