Abstract

The instrumental polarization induced by a flat isotropic dielectric slab in microwave frequencies is discussed. We find that, in spite of its isotropic nature, such a dielectric can produce spurious polarization either by transmitting incoming anisotropic diffuse radiation or emitting when it is thermally inhomogeneous. We present evaluations of instrumental polarization generated by materials usually adopted in radio astronomy, by using the Mueller matrix formalism. As an application, results for different slabs in front of a 32  GHz receiver are discussed. Such results are based on measurements of their complex dielectric constants. We evaluate that a 0 .33   cm thick Teflon slab introduces negligible spurious polarization (< 2 .6×105 in transmission and <6×107 in emission), even minimizing the leakage (<108 from Q to U Stokes parameters, and vice versa) and the depolarization (1.3×103).

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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