Scattering Polarization of 3 μm Water-ice Feature by Large Icy Grains

Ryo Tazaki*, Koji Murakawa, Takayuki Muto, Mitsuhiko Honda, Akio K. Inoue

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Water ice has a strong spectral feature at a wavelength of approximately 3 μm, which plays a vital role in our understanding of the icy universe. In this study, we investigate the scattering polarization of this water-ice feature. The linear polarization degree of light scattered by micron-sized icy grains is known to be enhanced at the ice band; however, the dependence of this polarization enhancement on various grain properties is unclear. We find that the enhanced polarization at the ice band is sensitive to the presence of micron-sized grains as well as their ice abundance. We demonstrate that this enhancement is caused by the high absorbency of the water-ice feature, which attenuates internal scattering and renders the surface reflection dominant over internal scattering. Additionally, we compare our models with polarimetric observations of the low-mass protostar L1551 IRS 5. Our results show that scattering by a maximum grain radius of a few microns with a low water-ice abundance is consistent with observations. Thus, scattering polarization of the water-ice feature is a useful tool for characterizing ice properties in various astronomical environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number26
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Mar 20

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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