Accurate measurement of polarization in spectral lines is important for the reliable inference of magnetic fields on the Sun. For ground-based observations, polarimetric precision is severely limited by the presence of Earth’s atmosphere. Atmospheric turbulence (seeing) produces signal fluctuations, which combined with the nonsimultaneous nature of the measurement process cause intermixing of the Stokes parameters known as seeing-induced polarization cross talk. Previous analysis of this effect [Appl. Opt. 43, 3817 (2004)] suggests that cross talk is reduced not only with increase in modulation frequency but also by compensating the seeing-induced image aberrations by an adaptive optics (AO) system. However, in those studies the effect of higher-order image aberrations than those corrected by the AO system was not taken into account. We present in this paper an analysis of seeing-induced cross talk in the presence of higher-order image aberrations through numerical simulation. In this analysis we find that the amount of cross talk among Stokes parameters is practically independent of the degree of image aberration corrected by an AO system. However, higher-order AO corrections increase the signal-to-noise ratio by reducing the seeing caused image smearing. Further we find, in agreement with the earlier results, that cross talk is reduced considerably by increasing the modulation frequency.
© 2012 Optical Society of America
Instrumentation, Measurement, and Metrology
Original Manuscript: April 24, 2012
Revised Manuscript: August 28, 2012
Manuscript Accepted: October 22, 2012
Published: November 19, 2012
Nagaraju Krishnappa and Alex Feller, "Precision in ground-based solar polarimetry: simulating the role of adaptive optics," Appl. Opt. 51, 7953-7961 (2012)