Measure multidimensional complex and unknown polarization states in a single shot? All you need is machine learning!

Single-shot polarimetry of vector beams by supervised learning

States of light encoding multiple polarizations – vector beams – offer unique capabilities in metrology and communication. However, their practical application is limited by the lack of methods for measuring many polarizations in a scalable and compact way. Here we demonstrate polarimetry of vector beams in a single shot without any polarization optics. We map the beam polarization content into a spatial intensity distribution through multiple light scattering and exploit supervised learning for single-shot measurements of multiple polarizations. The method also allows us to classify beams with an unknown number of polarization modes, a functionality missing in conventional techniques. Our findings enable a fast and compact polarimeter for polarization-structured light, a universal tool that may radically impact optical devices for sensing, imaging, and computing.