A simple, low-cost, fully automated polarimeter, which demonstrates fundamental properties of skylight scattering and polarization for undergraduate physics students, is described. The polarimeter includes a microprocessor-based control unit, a Sun tracker, an elevation-azimuth mount with two degrees of freedom, and a polarization sensor unit equipped with a light-dependent resistor for measuring light intensity. Results obtained in the principal plane of the Sun using the polarimeter on a relatively clear day, together with the theoretically expected results for a molecular atmosphere, are presented. A root-mean-square error comparison indicates fairly good agreement between theory and experiment. Construction and experimentation with the polarimeter will provide students with insight into important physical concepts involved in skylight scattering and polarization as well as improve their instrumentation capabilities.
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APPARATUS AND DEMONSTRATION NOTES| March 01 2017
A low-cost polarimeter for an undergraduate laboratory to study the polarization pattern of skylight
Chula P. Abayaratne;
Chula P. Abayaratne, Vibodha Bandara; A low-cost polarimeter for an undergraduate laboratory to study the polarization pattern of skylight. Am. J. Phys. 1 March 2017; 85 (3): 232–238. https://doi.org/10.1119/1.4971159
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