In a recent attempt, we developed a colinear backscattering Mueller matrix microscope by adding polarization state generator (PSG) and polarization state analyzer (PSA) into the illumination and detection optical paths of a commercial metallurgical microscope. It is found that specific efforts have to be made to reduce the artifacts due to the intrinsic residual polarizations of the optical system, particularly the dichroism due to the 45 degrees beam splitter. In this paper, we present a new calibration method based on numerical reconstruction of the instrument matrix to remove the artifacts introduced by beam splitter. Preliminary tests using a mirror as a standard sample show that the maximum Muller matrix element error of the colinear backscattering Muller matrix microscope can be reduced to a few percent.
We have developed a polarization microscope based on a commercial transmission microscope. We replace the halogen light source by a collimated LED light source module of six different colors. We use achromatic polarized optical elements that can cover the six different wavelength ranges in the polarization state generator (PSG) and polarization state analyzer (PSA) modules. The dual-rotating wave plate method is used to measure the Mueller matrix of samples, which requires the simultaneous rotation of the two quarter-wave plates in both PSG and PSA at certain angular steps. A scientific CCD detector is used as the image receiving module. A LabView-based software is developed to control the rotation angels of the wave plates and the exposure time of the detector to allow the system to run fully automatically in preprogrammed schedules. Standard samples, such as air, polarizers, and quarter-wave plates, are used to calibrate the intrinsic Mueller matrix of optical components, such as the objectives, using the eigenvalue calibration method. Errors due to the images walk-off in the PSA are studied. Errors in the Mueller matrices are below 0.01 using air and polarizer as standard samples. Data analysis based on Mueller matrix transformation and Mueller matrix polarization decomposition is used to demonstrate the potential application of this microscope in pathological diagnosis.