The polarization optics for the European Solar Telescope (EST)


EST (European Solar Telescope) is a 4-m class solar telescope, which is currently in the conceptual design phase. EST will be located at the Canary Islands and aims at observations with the best possible spectral, spatial and temporal resolution and best polarimetric performance, of the solar photosphere and chromosphere, using a suite of instruments that can efficiently produce two-dimensional spectropolarimetric information of the thermal, dynamic and magnetic properties of the plasma over many scale heights, and ranging from ensuremathłambda=350 until 2300 nm. In order to be able to fulfill the stringent requirements for polarimetric sensitivity and accuracy, from the very beginning the polarimetry has been included in the design work. The overall philosophy has been to use a combination of techniques, which includes a telescope with low (and stable) instrumental polarization, optimal full Stokes polarimeters, differential measurement schemes, fast modulation and demodulation, and accurate calibration. The current baseline optical layout consists of a 14-mirror layout, which is polarimetrically compensated and nonvarying in time. In the polarization free F2 focus ample space is reserved for calibration and modulators and a polarimetric switch. At instrument level the s-, and p-planes of individual components are aligned, resulting in a system in which eigenvectors can travel undisturbed through the system.