AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 88 Advanced Radio, Millimeter and Sub-mm Instruments
Oral, Tuesday, 10:00-11:30am, January 10, 2006, Salon 1

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[88.05] Instrumentation Development for Astrophysical Spectropolarimetry

C.A. Jurgenson (Magdalena Ridge Observatory)

Several key problems in planetary formation and stellar evolution depend upon a better knowledge of the physics of particulate material, which have diagnostic features in the infrared. Polarimetry holds the prospect for resolving particle size, shape, composition, and alignment mechanisms. Previous studies conducted at the University of Denver using TNTCAM2, a mid-IR imaging polarimeter on dusty environments, revealed the desire for higher resolution within the roughly 1 micron wide bandpasses between 7 – 13 microns. The development and construction of an imaging infrared Fourier transform spectro-polarimeter has begun at the University of Denver. Imaging FTS can increase the spectral resolution within the bandpasses while preserving the imaging capabilities. Once completed, the instrument will have the potential to provide both the spatial and spectral resolution capable of diagnosing grain properties in dusty astrophysical environments. With variable spectral resolution (dependent upon the maximum optical path difference), the researcher would be allowed to select a resolution, up to the maximum, appropriate to the resonance feature under investigation. The motivation, control aspects of the interferometer, and its mating to TNTCAM2 will be discussed. The Donald Menzel Fellowship, estate of William Herschel Womble, Sigma Xi Grants In Aid of Research, NASA’s Rocky Mountain Space Grants, and NSF Grant AST 9724506 have all provided funding for this endeavor.

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