The ZIMPOL high contrast imaging polarimeter for SPHERE: system test results


SPHERE (Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet Research) is a new instrument for the VLT aimed at the direct detection of exo- planets. It has received its first light in May 2014. ZIMPOL (Zurich Imaging Polarimeter) is the imaging polarimeter subsystem of the SPHERE instrument. It’s capable of both high accuracy and high sensitivity polarimetry but can also be used as a classical imager. It is located behind an extreme AO system and a stellar coronagraph. ZIMPOL operates at visible wavelengths (600-900 nm) which is best suited to detect the very faint reflected and hence polarized visible light from extra solar planets. It has an instantaneous Field of View of 3 x 3 arcsec2 (extendable to 8 arcsec diameter) with an angular resolution of 14 mili-arcsec. We discuss the results that are obtained from the full SPHERE-ZIMPOL system testing. In particular the optical, polarimetric and high contrast performance.