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Journal Articles The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series Year : 2021

Retrieving Dust Grain Sizes from Photopolarimetry: An Experimental Approach

O. Muñoz
  • Function : Author
E. Frattin
  • Function : Author
T. Jardiel
  • Function : Author
J. C. Gómez-Martín
  • Function : Author
F. Moreno
  • Function : Author
J. L. Ramos
  • Function : Author
D. Guirado
  • Function : Author
M. Peiteado
  • Function : Author
A. C. Caballero
  • Function : Author


We present the experimental phase function, degree of linear polarization (DLP), and linear depolarization (δL) curves of a set of forsterite samples representative of low-absorbing cosmic dust particles. The samples are prepared using state-of-the-art size-segregating techniques to obtain narrow size distributions spanning a broad range of the scattering size parameter domain. We conclude that the behavior of the phase function at the side- and back-scattering regions provides information on the size regime, the position and magnitude of the maximum of the DLP curve are strongly dependent on particle size, the negative polarization branch is mainly produced by particles with size parameters in the ~6 to ~20 range, and the δL is strongly dependent on particle size at all measured phase angles except for the exact backward direction. From a direct comparison of the experimental data with computations for spherical particles, it becomes clear that the use of the spherical model for simulating the phase function and DLP curves of irregular dust produces dramatic errors in the retrieved composition and size of the scattering particles: The experimental phase functions are reproduced by assuming unrealistically high values of the imaginary part of the refractive index. The spherical model does not reproduce the bell-shaped DLP curve of dust particles with sizes in the resonance and/or geometric optics size domain. Thus, the use of the Mie model for analyzing polarimetric observations might prevent locating dust particles with sizes of the order of or larger than the wavelength of the incident light.
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Dates and versions

insu-03705279 , version 1 (27-06-2022)





O. Muñoz, E. Frattin, T. Jardiel, J. C. Gómez-Martín, F. Moreno, et al.. Retrieving Dust Grain Sizes from Photopolarimetry: An Experimental Approach. The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, 2021, 256, ⟨10.3847/1538-4365/ac0efa⟩. ⟨insu-03705279⟩
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