Abstract

Dust is found throughout the universe and plays an important role for a wide range of astrophysical phenomena. In recent years, new IR facilities have provided powerful new data for understanding these phenomena. However, interpretation of these data is often complicated by a lack of complementary information about the optical properties of astronomically relevant materials. The Optical Properties of Astronomical Silicates with Infrared Techniques (OPASI-T) program at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is designed to provide new high-quality laboratory data from which we can derive the optical properties of astrophysical dust analogues. This program makes use of multiple instruments, including new equipment designed and built specifically for this purpose. The suite of instruments allows us to derive optical properties over a wide wavelength range, from the near-IR through the millimeter, also providing the capability for exploring how these properties depend upon the temperature of the sample. In this paper, we discuss the overall structure of the research program, describe the new instruments that have been developed to meet the science goals, and demonstrate the efficacy of these tools.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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