Photopolarimetry is the spatial characterization of light polarization. Unlike intensity or wavelength, we are largely insensitive to polarization and therefore find it hard to explore the multidimensional data that photopolarimetry produces (two spatial dimensions plus four polarization dimensions). Many different ways for presenting and exploring this modality of light have been suggested. Most of these ignore circular polarization, include multiple image panes that make correlating structure with polarization difficult, and obscure the main trends with overly detailed information and often misleading colour maps. Here, we suggest a novel way for presenting the main results from photopolarimetric analyses. By superimposing a grid of polarization ellipses onto the RGB image, the full polarization state of each cell is intuitively conveyed to the reader. This method presents linear and circular polarization as well as ellipticity in a graphical manner, does not require multiple panes, facilitates the correlation between structure and polarization, and requires the addition of only three novel colours. We demonstrate its usefulness in a biological context where we believe it would be most relevant.
The authors declare no competing or financial interests.
Conceptualization of ideas, Y.L.G. and N.J.M.; methodology, Y.L.G.; software, Y.L.G.; formal analysis, Y.L.G.; resources, Y.L.G. and N.J.M.; writing – original draft, Y.L.G.; writing – reviewing and editing, Y.L.G. and N.J.M.; visualization, Y.L.G.; supervision, N.J.M.; funding acquisition, N.J.M.
This research was funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (FA2386-13-1-4134), the Asian Office of Aerospace Research and Development and the Australian Research Council (FL140100197).
Supplementary information available online at http://jeb.biologists.org/lookup/doi/10.1242/jeb.139139.supplemental
- Received February 16, 2016.
- Accepted June 9, 2016.
- © 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd