Debris disks in Polarized Light with the Gemini Planet Imager
Maxwell Millar-Blanchaer
Jet Propulsion Laboratory



Debris disks -- extrasolar analogs to the Kuiper and Asteroid belts -- can inform us about nearby exoplanets in two main ways. First, because their constituent bodies are thought to have formed via similar mechanisms as planetary cores, their composition reflects the grain growth processes that went into building planets. Second, dynamical interactions with nearby exoplanets can lead to distinct morphologies that can reveal the presence and orbital characteristics of planets too small to be detected otherwise. In this talk I will provide an overview of the Gemini Planet Imager's (GPI's) polarimetry mode, a mode that has been used extensively to detect and characterize new debris disks, discussing both the instrument design and the data reduction procedures required to go from raw detector images to science-ready data. In addition, I will discuss some of the scientific highlights to come out of the debris disk component of the GPI Exoplanet survey. I will end with some thoughts on future debris disks studies with new telescopes and upcoming instrument upgrades.