The PI's request funding to develop an integrated instrument package including a polarized imaging sensor capable of measuring all Stokes parameters of the optical field with high temporal and spatial resolution. This instrument package will be deployed underwater and will be programmed to automatically record measurements of the near-surface polarized optical field at regular time-steps while re-orienting over the full solid angle. These measurements, used in combination with measurements of the associated water's Inherent Optical Properties and Monte Carlo based radiative-transfer modeling, are expected to lead to enhanced understanding both of optical radiative transfer relevant to remote sensing, and also of the adaptation mechanisms employed by biological organisms, either to enhance their contrast for communication or to conceal themselves against the polarized optical background.
If successful, the PIs will have developed an underwater polarimetric camera that can be deployed in variety of ocean conditions. This could lead to new discoveries in engineering, oceanography, biology, geology, and physics. The instrument itself may also lead to advancements in biomedical imaging, where polarization has shown significant promise. The interdisciplinary nature of the research will certainly appeal to a large number of groups, and is prime for educational outreach for all age groups. All three PIs are actively engaged in educational and community outreach programs.