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In this letter, we propose the use of the newly developed corrugated quantum well infrared photodetectors (C-QWIPs) for polarization detection. The corrugated structure, which serves as an optical coupler as well as the polarization-sensitive component, is in this case directly created into the active region of the QWIP, therefore dispensed with the need of an external polarizer. Moreover, four C-QWIPs with differently oriented corrugated patterns can be integrated as one unit, thus allowing a precise, real-time measurement of the polarization state. The polarimetry of this detector unit was characterized using a blackbody source and a metal grating polarizer. © 1999 American Institute of Physics.