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  1. ABSTRACT

    The size of dust grains, a, is key to the physical and chemical processes in circumstellar discs, but observational constraints of grain size remain challenging. (Sub)millimetre continuum observations often show a per cent-level polarization parallel to the disc minor axis, which is generally attributed to scattering by ${\sim}100\, \mu{\rm m}$-sized spherical grains (with a size parameter x ≡ 2$\pi$a/λ < 1, where λ is the wavelength). Larger spherical grains (with x greater than unity) would produce opposite polarization direction. However, the inferred size is in tension with the opacity index β that points to larger mm/cm-sized grains. We investigate the scattering-produced polarization by large irregular grains with a range of x greater than unity with optical properties obtained from laboratory experiments. Using the radiation transfer code, RADMC-3D, we find that large irregular grains still produce polarization parallel to the disc minor axis. If the original forsterite refractive index in the optical is adopted, then all samples can produce the typically observed level of polarization. Accounting for the more commonly adopted refractive index using the DSHARP dust model, only grains with x of several (corresponding to ∼mm-sized grains) can reach the same polarization level. Our results suggest that grains in discs can have sizes in the millimetre regime, which may alleviate the tension between the grain sizes inferred from scattering and other means. Additionally, if large irregular grains are not settled to the mid-plane, their strong forward scattering can produce asymmetries between the near and far side of an inclined disc, which can be used to infer their presence.

     
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  2. Abstract We present 870 μ m Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array polarization observations of thermal dust emission from the iconic, edge-on debris disk β Pic. While the spatially resolved map does not exhibit detectable polarized dust emission, we detect polarization at the ∼3 σ level when averaging the emission across the entire disk. The corresponding polarization fraction is P frac = 0.51% ± 0.19%. The polarization position angle χ is aligned with the minor axis of the disk, as expected from models of dust grains aligned via radiative alignment torques (RAT) with respect to a toroidal magnetic field ( B -RAT) or with respect to the anisotropy in the radiation field ( k -RAT). When averaging the polarized emission across the outer versus inner thirds of the disk, we find that the polarization arises primarily from the SW third. We perform synthetic observations assuming grain alignment via both k -RAT and B -RAT. Both models produce polarization fractions close to our observed value when the emission is averaged across the entire disk. When we average the models in the inner versus outer thirds of the disk, we find that k -RAT is the likely mechanism producing the polarized emission in β Pic. A comparison of timescales relevant to grain alignment also yields the same conclusion. For dust grains with realistic aspect ratios (i.e., s > 1.1), our models imply low grain-alignment efficiencies. 
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  3. ABSTRACT A number of young circumstellar discs show strikingly ordered (sub)millimetre polarization orientations along the minor axis, which is strong evidence for polarization due to scattering by ∼0.1 mm-sized grains. To test this mechanism further, we model the ALMA dust continuum and polarization data of HD 163296 using radmc-3d. We find that scattering by grains with a maximum size of 90  μm simultaneously reproduces the polarization observed at Band 7 and the unusually low spectral index (α ∼ 1.5) between Bands 7 and 6 in the optically thick inner disc as a result of more efficient scattering at the shorter wavelength. The low spectral index of ∼2.5 inferred for the optically thin gaps is reproduced by the same grains, as a result of telescope beam averaging of the gaps (with an intrinsic α ∼ 4) and their adjacent optically thick rings (where α ≲ 2). The tension between the grain sizes inferred from polarization and spectral index disappears because the low α values do not require large mm-sized grains. In addition, the polarization fraction has a unique azimuthal variation: higher along the major axis than the minor axis in the gaps, but vice versa in the rings. We find a rapidly declining polarization spectrum (with p ∝ λ−3 approximately) in the gaps, which becomes flattened or even inverted towards short wavelengths in the optically thick rings. These contrasting behaviours in the rings and gaps provide further tests for scattering-induced polarization via resolved multiwavelength observations. 
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  4. ABSTRACT

    Polarized dust emission is a key tracer in the study of interstellar medium and of star formation. The observed polarization, however, is a product of magnetic field structure, dust grain properties, and grain alignment efficiency, as well as their variations in the line of sight, making it difficult to interpret polarization unambiguously. The comparison of polarimetry at multiple wavelengths is a possible way of mitigating this problem. We use data from HAWC+ /SOFIA and from SCUBA-2/POL-2 (from the BISTRO survey) to analyse the NGC 2071 molecular cloud at 154, 214, and 850 $\mu$m. The polarization angle changes significantly with wavelength over part of NGC 2071, suggesting a change in magnetic field morphology on the line of sight as each wavelength best traces different dust populations. Other possible explanations are the existence of more than one polarization mechanism in the cloud or scattering from very large grains. The observed change of polarization fraction with wavelength, and the 214-to-154 $\mu$m polarization ratio in particular, are difficult to reproduce with current dust models under the assumption of uniform alignment efficiency. We also show that the standard procedure of using monochromatic intensity as a proxy for column density may produce spurious results at HAWC+wavelengths. Using both long-wavelength (POL-2, 850 $\mu$m) and short-wavelength (HAWC+, $\lesssim 200\, \mu$m) polarimetry is key in obtaining these results. This study clearly shows the importance of multi-wavelength polarimetry at submillimetre bands to understand the dust properties of molecular clouds and the relationship between magnetic field and star formation.

     
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  5. Abstract

    We characterize the accuracy of linear-polarization mosaics made using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). First, we observed the bright, highly linearly polarized blazar 3C 279 at Bands 3, 5, 6, and 7 (3 mm, 1.6 mm, 1.3 mm, and 0.87 mm, respectively). At each band, we measured the blazar’s polarization on an 11 × 11 grid of evenly spaced offset pointings covering the full-width at half-maximum (FWHM) area of the primary beam. After applying calibration solutions derived from the on-axis pointing of 3C 279 to all of the on- and off-axis data, we find that the residual polarization errors across the primary beam are similar at all frequencies: the residual errors in linear polarization fractionPfracand polarization position angleχare ≲0.001 (≲0.1% of StokesI) and ≲ 1° near the center of the primary beam; the errors increase to ∼0.003–0.005 (∼0.3%–0.5% of StokesI) and ∼1°–5° near the FWHM as a result of the asymmetric beam patterns in the (linearly polarized)QandUmaps. We see the expected double-lobed “beam squint” pattern in the circular polarization (StokesV) maps. Second, to test the polarization accuracy in a typical ALMA project, we performed observations of continuum linear polarization toward the Kleinmann–Low nebula in Orion (Orion-KL) using several mosaic patterns at Bands 3 and 6. We show that after mosaicking, the residual off-axis errors decrease as a result of overlapping multiple pointings. Finally, we compare the ALMA mosaics with an archival 1.3 mm Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy polarization mosaic of Orion-KL and find good consistency in the polarization patterns.

     
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