Revealing molecular structure and orientation with Stokes vector resolved second harmonic generation microscopy
We report on measurements and characterization of polarization properties of Second Harmonic (SH) signals using a four-channel photon counting based Stokes polarimeter. In this way, the critical polarization parameters can be obtained concurrently without the need of repeated image acquisition. The critical polarization parameters, including the degree of polarization (DOP), the degree of linear polarization (DOLP), and the degree of circular polarization (DOCP), are extracted from the reconstructed Stokes vector based SH images in a pixel-by-pixel manner. The measurements are further extended by varying the polarization states of the incident light and recording the resulting Stokes parameters of the SH signal. In turn this allows the molecular structure and orientation of the samples to be determined. Use of Stokes polarimetry is critical in determination of the full polarization state of light, and enables discrimination of material properties not possible with conventional crossed-polarized detection schemes. The combination of SHG microscopy and Stokes polarimeter hence makes a powerful tool to investigate the structural order of targeted specimens. (C) 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.