The Baumer polarization CX series cameras integrate on-chip polarizing filters at the pixel level. This way, they feature higher contrasts in intensity images for inspections on low-contrast or reflecting surfaces and transparent materials. Besides light properties such as wavelength (color) and amplitude (brightness), this efficient approach also evaluates  the light wave’s direction of oscillation or polarization caused by effects of reflections and refractions on materials.

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Left: Imaging of monochrome camera
Right: Imaging of polarization camera with colored degree of polarization

Imaging with polarized light

When describing light as an electromagnetic wave, each individual oscillations plane can also be referred as a polarization plane. For the use of imaging polarization applications, the following polarization types have to be distinguished:


Beyond polarization by reflected and refracted light, illumination allows linear polarization by polarizing filters. For example, these are required in inspections on reflecting metal surfaces.
During image acquisition, the polarizing filter is suppressing the content of linearly polarized light in order to avoid reflections and overexposure in some sections of the image.

Polarizing filters at pixel level


The 5 Megapixel Global Shutter Sensor IMX250MZR from Sony with additional polarizing layer integrates on-chip four polarizing filters arranged in repeating two-pixel blocks (2×2). These filters are oriented to 0°, 45°, 90° and 135° and cover the entire pixel array. The filters are placed below the micro-lenses to avoid crosstalk of incident light to adjacent pixels. Similar to color sensors with 2×2 Bayer pattern, both the angle of polarization (AOP) and degree of polarization (DOLP) of the linearly polarized light are interpolated for each pixel based on the adjacent pixels.

Unlike conventional solutions using mechanical filter wheels or several cameras with individually aligned polarizing filters, the pixel-level polarizer structure provides essential benefits:

  • Easy imaging of moving objects, since all four directions of polarization are acquired in a single image
  • Reduced system cost thanks to easy integration a limited number of system components
  • Reliable system design without any moving parts like filter wheels

Application examples

Packaging of blister packs
Simple checks on presence and completeness at tablet blister packs using different degrees of polarization
Visualizing residual stress
Inspection on residual stress (direction and degree) on glass using back light
Inspections on product packaging
Checking product packaging and imprints by suppressing reflections
Inspection of plastic packaging for damage
Inspection on deformations
Inspections of the carbon fiber fabrics (CFRP) layers for position and deformation

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