National Capital Section
of the Optical Society of America

Second 2015-2016 meeting of the
National Capital Section of the Optical Society of America

Tuesday, October 20th, 6 PM

At the NASA/Goddard Visitors Center ICESat Road, 
Greenbelt, MD


Brandon G. Zimmerman, Optics Branch, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Subject: “Unconventional Light Scattering Polarimetry For Aerosol Monitoring”


This talk will introduce a class of unconventional, spatially inhomogeneous polarized beams for their application in aerosol polarimetry. One such beam may be formed by the unique superposition of right and left circularly polarized beams by a customized Nomarski prism. Such superposition results in a beam that repeatedly traverses the equator of the Poincaré sphere in one of the beams spatial dimensions, such that, an image of light scattered from the beam yields the phase functions of the scatterers without temporal modulation of the input polarization. We call this a One Dimensional Poincaré Beam. We show that by illuminating an ensemble of Mie scatterers with our beam, that we can extract the phase functions, and size of the scatterers (amongst other physical parameters), in a manner that is both faster and more efficient than conventional methods. Furthermore, we present the design and fabrication of a single frame imaging polarimeter, based on our own concepts of Star Test Polarimetry. Our Star Test Imaging Polarimeter possesses the capability to characterize the variation of Stokes parameters across a given object in real time with a single irradiance measurement. We conclude our results by integrating the two aforementioned systems into a single experiment; such that an ensemble of Mie scatterers illuminated by our Poincaré Beam, and imaged through our polarimeter, will yield the full phase matrix, and size parameter of the scatterers in a single image.


Marcus Brandon Gregory Zimmerman was born in Thomasville, Georgia where he first found his interest for optics in a 10th grade economics class. He then followed his interests to the University of Rochester as an undergraduate at The Institute of Optics where he would achieve his Bachelors of Science degree with Honors in Optical Science and Engineering in May of 2009, followed by his Masters of Science in Optical Science and Engineering with a focus in Polarized Light Scattering in May of 2012. He would continue his doctoral work as a Provost Fellow also at the University of Rochester, The Institute of Optics. As a doctoral student Brandon also accepted a position at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) as a co-op engineer where he would later become a NASA Student Ambassador through NASA Headquarters. His research efforts at NASA led him to become a recipient of a NASA Graduate Student Research Program (GSRP) Fellow, as well as a University of Rochester Provost Fellow in the research area of Polarimetric Scatterometry using Unconventional Polarized States, where he is now a Doctoral candidate preparing to defend his dissertation in December of 2015



Tuesday 20, October, 2015

6:00 PM: Social Hour & Networking: Complementary refreshments at the NASA Goddard Visitor Center

6:30 PM: Featured Talk: “Unconventional Light Scattering Polarimetry
 for Aerosol Monitoring”, by Brandon G. Zimmerman

7:45 PM: Optional Dinner with the speaker as our guest.


Jim Heany,
301-286-9133 and

John Burris,
(301) 614-6031

DIRECTIONS to NASA Goddard Recreation Center

A map to the NASA Goddard Visitor's center is at their website:

From the Capital Beltway (I-95/I-495) INNER LOOP: exit onto the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, North, towards Baltimore.
Almost immediately, exit onto Greenbelt Road (Rt. 193) East, following signs towards NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (you will turn
left from the exit ramp onto Greenbelt Road eastbound.)
From the Capital Beltway (I-95/I-495) OUTER LOOP, on the exit road to the Baltimore-Washington Parkway there is a slip road
that merges directly on to Greenbelt Road eastbound.

Travelling east on Greenbelt Road:
Continue past the Goddard main entrance (on the left), pass one more traffic light, and turn left at the next light onto Good Luck Road. Look for a gate on the left, within less than 1⁄4 mile. There will be a guard at the gate to admit visitors after 5:30 PM.

From Baltimore: Take the Baltimore-Washington Parkway (Route 295) South to the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. Exit at Powder Mill road, turn left and go under the bridge. Turn right at the first traffic light and go about 3 miles to Goodluck Road and turn right when you reach Greenbelt Road. Take your first right at ICESat Road, which is what this section of what was Soil Conservation road is now called. Take your first left to reach the Visitors Center.





Our NCS/OSA has joined with the Huntsville Electro-Optics Society and the SPIE to co-sponsor another Mirror Tech Days. This annual event summarizes the USA Government's investment strategies and activities in developing technology for any application  (such as telescopes, imaging systems, seeker/trackers, high-energy laser systems, solar energy, etc.) that requires optical components.  Mirror Tech Days covers technology investment efforts in: optical materials; substrate design & manufacture; optical fabrication and metrology technology; optical coatings; wavefront sensing and control via adaptive optics; nano-technology imaging technologies; etc.


The purpose of Tech Days is to:  1) Review the technical accomplishments of last year and plans for the future of mirror technology development being funded via the Government (e.g., SBIRs, DIIs, NASA ROSES, direct contracts, etc.) 
 2) Celebrate success stories of funded mirror technology development efforts which have either been integrated into a Government program or reached the commercial marketplace. This year’s Mirror Tech Days will be held locally in Annapolis at the Westin Hotel, 100 Westgate Circle


For additional details, consult:


Dates: Nov. 10-12, 2015


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Membership Dues for 2015-2016 - Dues for the National Capital Section are free during the first year of membership. After the first year, dues are $10 per year. If you have not yet paid, please send $10 ($5 for students) to the NCS/OSA secretary at the address given below. If you are not sure if you have paid, please call (301) 286-0690 or e-mail to check.

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