The IRCAL Polarimeter: Design, Calibration, and Data Reduction for an Adaptive Optics Imaging Polarimeter

Date
Authors
Perrin, Marshall D.
Graham, James R.
Lloyd, James P.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
Abstract
Description
We have upgraded IRCAL, the near-infrared science camera of the Lick Observatory adaptive optics system, to add a dual-channel imaging polarimetry mode. This mode uses an optically contacted YLF (LiYF_4) Wollaston prism to provide simultaneous images in perpendicular linear polarizations, providing high resolution, high dynamic range polarimetry in the near infrared. We describe the design and construction of the polarimeter, discuss in detail the data reduction algorithms adopted, and evaluate the instrument's on-the-sky performance. The IRCAL polarimeter is capable of reducing the stellar PSF halo by about two orders of magnitude, thereby increasing contrast for studies of faint circumstellar dust-scattered light. We discuss the various factors that limit the achieved contrast, and present lessons applicable to future high contrast imaging polarimeters.
Comment: 15 pages; accepted to PASP
Keywords
Astrophysics
Citation
Collections