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Polarimetry at millimeter wavelenghts with the NIKA and NIKA2 instruments

Abstract : The role played by magnetic fields in the star formation process is an outstanding question of modern astrophysics. Herschel satellite observations have unveiled filamentary structures as the preferential sites of star formation. Complementary low resolution observations of dust polarization by the Planck satellite have demonstrated that these filamentary structures are associated to well organized magnetic fields, which should play a major role in this process. A better understanding of this process requires detailed observations of galactic dust polarization on scales of 0.01 pc to 0.1 pc. Such high resolution polarization observations can be carried out at the IRAM 30 meter telescope using the recently installed New IRAM Kid Array (NIKA2) camera, which features two frequency bands at 260 (polarized) and 150 (non polarized) GHz for a total of 3300 detectors, 12 and 18 arcsec FWHM resolution and Field of View (FoV) of 6.5 arcminutes diameter. The NIKA camera, which consists of two arrays of 132 and 224 LEKIDs (Lumped Element Kinetic Inductance Detectors) covering a FoV of ∼1.8 arcminutes at 1.15 (260) and 2.05 (150) mm (GHz), was installed at the IRAM 30 telescope from 2012 to 2015.The purpose of this thesis was the characterization of the NIKA polarization system performance. The system consisted of a rotating multi-mesh half wave plate and a grid polarizer. The rapidity of the LEKID detectors combined to the modulation of the HWP permits the simultaneous measurement of the three stokes parameters I,Q,U, components of the linear polarization. Then the signal is extracted with a lock-in procedure by isolating the amplitude of the mechanical rotation fourth harmonic.In the first part of the thesis the instrumental efficiency characterization of the system is presented. Later, the dedicated polarization data analysis is described. It has been specifically developed for the NIKA instrument and has allowed to map polarisation observations of compact and extended sources.The data reduction of unpolarized sources observations showed an instrumental polarization systematic effect. In order to correct for this effect an algorithm has been developed allowing to reduce an observed instrumental polarization of the order of ~ 3 % to below ~ 1%. In addition, polarized sources observations corrected for the systematic effect confirmed the potentiality of the NIKA polarimeter to measure the polarization. This opens the way to forthcoming observations with NIKA2 that will undoubtedly provide advances in the field of Galactic emission and interactions with the magnetic field.
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Alessia Ritacco. Polarimetry at millimeter wavelenghts with the NIKA and NIKA2 instruments. Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysic [astro-ph.IM]. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016GREAY018⟩. ⟨tel-01467862v2⟩



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