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dc.contributor.authorCronin, Thomas W.
dc.contributor.authorMarshall, Justin
dc.description.abstractNatural sources of light are at best weakly polarized, but polarization of light is common in natural scenes in the atmosphere, on the surface of the Earth, and underwater. We review the current state of knowledge concerning how polarization and polarization patterns are formed in nature, emphasizing linearly polarized light. Scattering of sunlight or moonlight in the sky often forms a strongly polarized, stable and predictable pattern used by many animals for orientation and navigation throughout the day, at twilight, and on moonlit nights. By contrast, polarization of light in water, while visible in most directions of view, is generally much weaker. In air, the surfaces of natural objects often reflect partially polarized light, but such reflections are rarer underwater, and multiple-path scattering degrades such polarization within metres. Because polarization in both air and water is produced by scattering, visibility through such media can be enhanced using straightforward polarization-based methods of image recovery, and some living visual systems may use similar methods to improve vision in haze or underwater. Although circularly polarized light is rare in nature, it is produced by the surfaces of some animals, where it may be used in specialized systems of communication.en_US
dc.description.sponsorshipThis work is based on research supported by the National Science Foundation under grant number IOS 0721608, by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, grant number FA9550-09-1-0149, and by the Asian Office of Aerospace Research and Development, grants number AOARD 064040 and 074086.en_US
dc.format.extent8 pagesen_US
dc.genrejournal articlesen_US
dc.identifier.citationThomas W. Cronin and Justin Marshall, Patterns and properties of polarized light in air and water, Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2011 Mar 12; 366(1565): 619–626. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2010.0201en_US
dc.publisherThe Royal Societyen_US
dc.relation.isAvailableAtThe University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)
dc.relation.ispartofUMBC Biological Sciences Department Collection
dc.relation.ispartofUMBC Faculty Collection
dc.rightsThis item is likely protected under Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. Unless on a Creative Commons license, for uses protected by Copyright Law, contact the copyright holder or the author.
dc.subjectpolarized lighten_US
dc.subjectpolarization visionen_US
dc.subjectnatural scenesen_US
dc.subjectimage enhancementen_US
dc.titlePatterns and properties of polarized light in air and wateren_US

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