A comparison of polarization image processing across different platforms

Timothy York, Samuel Powell, Viktor Gruev

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Division-of-focal-plane (DoFP) polarimeters for the visible spectrum hold the promise of being able to capture both the angle and degree of linear polarization in real-time and at high spatial resolution. These sensors are realized by monolithic integration of CCD imaging elements with metallic nanowire polarization filter arrays at the focal plane of the sensor. These sensors capture large amounts of raw polarization data and present unique computational challenges as they aim to provide polarimetric information at high spatial and temporal resolutions. The image processing pipeline in a typical DoFP polarimeter is: per-pixel calibration, interpolation of the four sub-sampled polarization pixels, Stokes parameter estimation, angle and degree of linear polarization estimation, and conversion from polarization domain to color space for display purposes. The entire image processing pipeline must operate at the same frame rate as the CCD polarization imaging sensor (40 frames per second) or higher in order to enable real-time extraction of the polarization properties from the imaged environment. To achieve the necessary frame rate, we have implemented and evaluated the image processing pipeline on three different platforms: general purpose CPU, graphics processing unit (GPU), and an embedded FPGA. The computational throughput, power consumption, precision and physical limitations of the implementations on each platform are described in detail and experimental data is provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPolarization Science and Remote Sensing V
StatePublished - Oct 17 2011
Externally publishedYes
EventPolarization Science and Remote Sensing V - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 21 2011Aug 22 2011

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherPolarization Science and Remote Sensing V
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Division-of-Focal-Plane
  • FPGA
  • GPU
  • Polarization
  • Processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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