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30 September 2004 CHEOPS/ZIMPOL: a VLT instrument study for the polarimetric search of scattered light from extrasolar planets
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We present results from a phase A study supported by ESO for a VLT instrument for the search and investigation of extrasolar planets. The envisaged CHEOPS (CHaracterizing Extrasolar planets by Opto-infrared Polarization and Spectroscopy) instrument consists of an extreme AO system, a spectroscopic integral field unit and an imaging polarimeter. This paper describes the conceptual design of the imaging polarimeter which is based on the ZIMPOL (Zurich IMaging POLarimeter) technique using a fast polarization modulator combined with a demodulating CCD camera. ZIMPOL is capable of detecting polarization signals on the order of p=0.001% as demonstrated in solar applications. We discuss the planned implementation of ZIMPOL within the CHEOPS instrument, in particular the design of the polarization modulator. Further we describe strategies to minimize the instrumental effects and to enhance the overall measuring efficiency in order to achieve the very demanding science goals.
© (2004) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.


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