X- and gamma-ray polarimetry in future space missions

by Rui Curado da Silva (LIP Coimbra)



By measuring the polarization angle and the degree of polarization of celestial emissions, it will be possible to increase the number of observational parameters, thereby allowing better discrimination between various models characterizing the same object. Polarimetric observations can provide important information about geometries, magnetic fields, composition and emission mechanisms in a wide variety of gamma-ray sources, e.g. Pulsars, Solar Flares, Active Galactic Nuclei, Galactic Black Holes or Gamma-Ray Bursts. So far, no dedicated gamma-ray polarimeters have ever been launched into space. DUAL and GRI (Gamma-Ray Imager) mission proposals to ESA Cosmic Vision programme are among the few missions that include high energy polarimetric observations. Our group has been developing this kind of instruments for more than a decade, optimizing focal plane instrumentation both by Monte Carlo simulation and by prototype testing.