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8 July 2014 High contrast polarimetry in the infrared with SPHERE on the VLT
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The instrument SPHERE (Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch), recently installed on the VLT-UT3, aims to detected and characterize giant extra-solar planets and the circumstellar environments in the very close vicinity of bright stars. The extreme brightness contrast and small angular separation between the planets or disks and their parent stars have so far proven very challenging. SPHERE will meet this challenge by using an extreme AO, stellar coronagraphs, an infrared dual band and polarimetric imager called IRDIS, an integral field spectrograph, and a visible polarimetric differential imager called ZIMPOL. Polarimetry allows a separation of the light coming from an unpolarized source such as a star and the polarized source such as a planet or protoplanetary disks. In this paper we present the performance of the infrared polarimetric imager based on experimental validations performed within SPHERE before the preliminary acceptance in Europe. We report on the level of instrumental polarization in the infrared and its calibration limit. Using differential polarimetry technique, we quantify the level of speckle suppression, and hence improved sensitivity in the context of imaging extended stellar environments.
© (2014) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
M. Langlois, K. Dohlen, A. Vigan, A. Zurlo, C. Moutou, H. M. Schmid, J. Mili, Jean-Luc Beuzit, A. Boccaletti, Michael Carle, Anne Costille, R. Dorn, L. Gluck, N. Hubin, M. Feldt, M. Kasper, L. Lizon, F. Madec, David Le Mignant, David Mouillet, J.-P. Puget, Jean-François Sauvage, and F. Wildi "High contrast polarimetry in the infrared with SPHERE on the VLT", Proc. SPIE 9147, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy V, 91471R (8 July 2014);

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