We present a polarimetry-based far-field method for high-resolution optical microscopy. The method is based on the
measurement of scattering-angle-resolved polarization state distributions across the exit pupil of a high numerical
aperture objective lens and allows us to distinguish between different sub-resolution objects with no need for an active
scanning. Our numerical and experimental results show that the scattering-angle-resolved polarization state distributions
can be used in the characterization of particles and structures with features below or at the edge of the Rayleigh
There is strong evidence that the living human retina has polarization signatures that could be linked to the presence of
Glaucoma, an ocular disease that is the second cause of blindness in the western world.
In a polarization sensitive ophthalmoscope, the amount of light that can be used is limited for the safety of the subject,
and the return is typically a small fraction of the light used for illumination, of the order of 10<sup>-6</sup>. Furthermore, the
acquisition rates have to be sufficiently fast to avoid eye-movement artifacts. The light-budget available to produce a
polarization image with a scanning laser ophthalmoscope is typically in the order of 10 nW, and pixel acquisition
sampling rates are of several MHz.
We are currently developing an imaging instrument for vision research and clinical vision applications and aim to
introduce it to the medical and clinical environment using objective methods of image quality assessment. Here we
discuss the stringent imaging requirements, polarimeter design, and show high resolution polarization retinal images.
The Applied Optics group at the National University of Ireland, Galway, is engaged in research into various aspects of
the application of adaptive optics to both ocular and atmospheric wavefront correction. A large number of commercially available deformable mirrors have been selected by the group for AO experiments, and these mirrors have been carefully characterised to determine their suitability for these tasks. In this paper we describe the approach we have used in characterising deformable mirrors and present results for several MEMs mirrors, including membrane mirrors from AgilOptics and Flexible Optical BV, a segmented micromirror from IrisAO and a 140-actuator mirror from Boston micromachines.