Chael, Andrew A., Johnson, Michael D., Narayan, Ramesh, Doeleman, Sheperd S., Wardle, John F. C., and Bouman, Katherine L. 2016. "High-resolution Linear Polarimetric Imaging for the Event Horizon Telescope." The Astrophysical Journal 829:11. https://doi.org/10.3847/0004-637X/829/1/11
Images of the linear polarizations of synchrotron radiation around active galactic nuclei (AGNs) highlight their projected magnetic field lines and provide key data for understanding the physics of accretion and outflow from supermassive black holes. The highest-resolution polarimetric images of AGNs are produced with Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI). Because VLBI incompletely samples the Fourier transform of the source image, any image reconstruction that fills in unmeasured spatial frequencies will not be unique and reconstruction algorithms are required. In this paper, we explore some extensions of the Maximum Entropy Method (MEM) to linear polarimetric VLBI imaging. In contrast to previous work, our polarimetric MEM algorithm combines a Stokes I imager that only uses bispectrum measurements that are immune to atmospheric phase corruption, with a joint Stokes Q and U imager that operates on robust polarimetric ratios. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our technique on 7 and 3 mm wavelength quasar observations from the VLBA and simulated 1.3 mm Event Horizon Telescope observations of Sgr A* and M87. Consistent with past studies, we find that polarimetric MEM can produce superior resolution compared to the standard CLEAN algorithm, when imaging smooth and compact source distributions. As an imaging framework, MEM is highly adaptable, allowing a range of constraints on polarization structure. Polarimetric MEM is thus an attractive choice for image reconstruction with the EHT.