20 July 2018 Analysis of the polarimetric performance of the HARPS3 Cassegrain adaptor unit
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Abstract
The third version of the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS3) instrument is built for a ten-year programme aimed at achieving 10 cm/sec radial velocity precision on nearby stars to search for Earth-like planets. HARPS3 will be commissioned on the to-be-roboticized 2.54-m Isaac Newton Telescope at La Palma in 2021. One of the main changes compared to its predecessors is the novel dual-beam Cassegrain focus, featuring a stabilised beam feed into the HARPS3 spectrograph and an insertable polarimetric sub-unit. This polarimetric sub-unit enables HARPS3 to directly measure stellar activity signatures, which can be useful for correcting activity-induced radial velocity jitter in the search for Earth-like planets. The sub-unit consists of superachromatic polymer quarter- and half-wave retarders for circular and linear polarizations respectively, designed to suppress polarized fringing, and a novel polarimetric beam splitter based on a wire-grid design, separating the two polarimetric beams by 30 mm and feeding two separate science fibers. The dual-beam exchange implementation in combination with the extreme stability of the HARPS3 spectrograph enables a polarimetric sensitivity of 10−5 on bright stars. One of the main challenges of such a system is in the characterization of instrumental polarization effects which limit the polarimetric accuracy of the polarimetric observing mode. By design and characterization of this subsystem and by pre-emptively mitigating possible noise sources, we can minimize the noise characteristics of the polarization sub-unit to allow for precise observations. In this paper we report on the design, realization, assembly, alignment, and testing of the polarimetric unit to be installed in the Cassegrain Adaptor Unit of the HARPS3 spectrograph
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Patrick Dorval, Patrick Dorval, Frans Snik, Frans Snik, Nikolai Piskunov, Nikolai Piskunov, Ramon Navarro, Ramon Navarro, Jan Kragt, Jan Kragt, Rik ter Horst, Rik ter Horst, Peter Kunst, Peter Kunst, Ignas Snellen, Ignas Snellen, Tim Naylor, Tim Naylor, Samantha Thompson, Samantha Thompson, } "Analysis of the polarimetric performance of the HARPS3 Cassegrain adaptor unit", Proc. SPIE 10702, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VII, 107026B (20 July 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2312535; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2312535
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