Polarization measurements of linearly polarized incident radiation redirected into a wide range of possible scattering angles provide information on the physical properties of trace man-made aerosols through analysis of the scattering phase matrix elements. Specifically, two parameters of the particle size distribution are retrieved, effective radius and effective variance, along with the real part of the index of refraction and a generic classification of the aerosol chemical composition. The atypical size distribution of certain man-made aerosols is crucial for their detection in the midst of background aerosols. The relatively small amount of the man-made aerosol, while limiting signal strength, does insure that the distinctiveness of single-scattering polarization features is preserved.
The practicability of a polarization aerosol remote detection system to detect the release of small amounts of man-made aerosols is determined. Details are given on the retrieval of specific aerosol physical properties from polarization features. Limits are established on detectable concentrations of such aerosols in the presence of typical background aerosols.