Metis is an inverted occulted coronagraph on-board the ESA/Solar Orbiter mission. The visible light path of the instrument will observe the "white" light (580-640 nm) linearly-polarized emission from the solar corona. The coronal polarized brightness allows retrieval of physical parameters such as the electron density and temperature of the K-corona. The Metis polarimeter comprises a quarter-wave retarder, the liquid crystal polarization modulation package (PMP) and a linear polarizer working as polarization analyser. The PMP consists of two Anti-Parallel Nematic Liquid Crystal Variable Retarders (LCVRs) with the fast axes parallels one to each other and a pre-tilted angle of the molecules in opposite direction, in order to maximize the homogeneity of the retardance across instrumental wide field of view: ±7 deg. This presentation reports the characterization of the PMP breadboard (BB), fully representative of the optical/polarimetric performances of the flight model. This characterization consisted in determining the performances of the device in terms of retardance as function of the applied voltage at different temperatures, angle of incidence and the variation of the retardance as a function of the wavelength. The calibrations were performed by measuring the complete Mueller matrix of the PMP-BB. The experimental results have been compared with the parameters of the theoretical model (e.g., depolarization, effective retardance, cells misalignment).
Metis is the solar coronagraph selected for the payload of the ESA Solar Orbiter mission. Metis will acquire simultaneous imaging in linearly polarized, broadband visible light (580-640 nm) and in the narrow-band HI Ly-α line (121.6 nm). The METIS visible light path includes a polarimeter, designed to observe and analyse the K-corona linearly polarized by Thomson scattering. The polarimeter comprises a liquid crystal Polarization Modulation Package (PMP) together with a quarter-wave retarder and a linear polarizer. The Metis PMP consists of two Anti-Parallel Nematic Liquid Crystal Variable Retarders (LCVRs) with their fast axis parallel with respect to each other and a pre-tilted angle of the molecules in opposite direction. The LCVRs provide an electro-optical modulation of the input polarized light by applying an electric field to the liquid crystal molecules inside the cells. A given optical retardance can be induced in the LCVRs by selecting a suitable voltage value. This presentation will report the polarimetric characterization of the Flight Model of the Metis polarimeter and the voltage-to-retardance calibration.