Correct interpretation of a vast array of astronomical data relies heavily on understanding the properties of silicate dust as a function of wavelength, temperature, and crystallinity. We introduce the QPASI-T (Optical Properties of Astronomical Silicates with Infrared Techniques) project to address the need for high fidelity optical characterization data on the various forms of astronomical dust. We use two spectrometers to provide extinction data for silicate samples across a wide wavelength range (from the near infrared to the millimeter). New experiments are in development that will provide complementary information on the emissivity of our samples, allowing us to complete the optical characterization of these dust materials. In this paper, we present initial results from several materials including amorphous iron silicate, magnesium silicate and silica smokes, over a wide range of temperatures, and discuss the design and operation of our new experiments
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