Active polarization imagers using liquid crystal variable retarders (LCVR) usually operate at one given wavelength for the sake of polarimetric accuracy. However, this often requires to use narrowband filters which reduces the amount of light entering the system and thus the signal-to-noise ratio. For applications where good target/background discriminability (contrast) is required rather than polarimetric accuracy, this may not be the best choice. In this Article, we address contrast optimization in the case of broadband active polarimetric imaging for target detection applications. Through numerical and experimental studies, we show that broadening the spectrum of the light entering the system can increase the contrast between two regions of a scene. Furthermore, we show that this contrast can be further increased by taking into account the spectral dependence of the scene and of the polarimetric properties of the imaging system in the optimization of the measurement procedure.
© 2015 Optical Society of America
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