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Proceedings Paper

On-sky tests of a polarization grating for visible astronomy
Author(s): Maxwell A. Millar-Blanchaer; Dae-Sik Moon; James R. Graham; Michael Williams
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Paper Abstract

Polarization gratings (PGs) are a type of diffraction grating that take advantage of birefringent liquid crystal polymers to simultaneously act as a polarizing beam splitter and as a spectral dispersive element. Furthermore, PGs are capable of providing high diffraction efficiency (>90%) over a very broad wavelength range. These properties make PGs ideal for spectropolarimetry and/or high throughput, broad wavelength observations for a range of astronomical objects. Here we report on the design and on-sky testing of a prototype spectropolarimeter instrument that employs a PG optimized for operation from 500 nm to 900 nm. The prototype was mounted on a 16-inch telescope at the University of Toronto, where we carried out observations of the polarized twilight sky, a polarized standard star and two spectroscopic standard stars. Using these observations we demonstrate the PG's ability to measure linear polarization fraction and position angle, as well as recover spectra from astronomical objects.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 August 2016
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 9908, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VI, 99082I (9 August 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2231886
Show Author Affiliations
Maxwell A. Millar-Blanchaer, Univ. of Toronto (Canada)
Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics, Univ. of Toronto (Canada)
Dae-Sik Moon, Univ. of Toronto (Canada)
James R. Graham, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)
Michael Williams, Univ. of Toronto (Canada)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9908:
Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VI
Christopher J. Evans; Luc Simard; Hideki Takami, Editor(s)

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