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Physics  2008 

The case for optical interferometric polarimetry

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Within the last 10 years, long-baseline optical interferometry (LBOI) has benefited significantly from increased sensitivity, spatial resolution, and spectral resolution, e.g., measuring the diameters and asymmetries of single stars, imaging/fitting the orbits of multiple stars, modeling Be star disks, and modeling AGN nuclei. Similarly, polarimetry has also yielded excellent astrophysical results, e.g., characterizing the atmospheres and shells of red giants/supergiants, modeling the envelopes of AGB stars, studying the morphology of Be stars, and monitoring the short- and long- term behavior of AGNs. The next logical evolutionary step in instrumentation is to combine LBOI with polarimetry, which is called optical interferometric polarimetry (OIP). In other words, measurements of spatial coherence are performed simultaneously with measurements of coherence between orthogonal polarization states.


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