A compact and robust method for full Stokes spectropolarimetry

Sparks, Germer, MacKenty and Snik
We present an approach to spectropolarimetry which requires neither moving parts nor time dependent modulation, and which offers the prospect of achieving high sensitivity. The technique applies equally well, in principle, in the optical, UV or IR. The concept, which is one of those generically known as channeled polarimetry, is to encode the polarization information at each wavelength along the spatial dimension of a 2D data array using static, robust optical components. A single two-dimensional data frame contains the full polarization information and can be configured to measure either two or all of the Stokes polarization parameters. By acquiring full polarimetric information in a single observation, we simplify polarimetry of transient sources and in situations where the instrument and target are in relative motion. The robustness and simplicity of the approach, coupled to its potential for high sensitivity, and applicability over a wide wavelength range, is likely to prove useful for applications in challenging environments such as space.