Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : By means of numerical experiments we explore the application of interferometry to the detection and characterization of abundance spots in chemically peculiar (CP) stars using the brightest star ε UMa as a case study. We find that the best spectral regions to search for spots and stellar rotation signatures are in the visual domain. The spots can clearly be detected already at a first visibility lobe and their signatures can be uniquely disentangled from that of rotation. The spots and rotation signatures can also be detected in near-infrared at low spectral resolution but baselines longer than 180 m are needed for all potential CP candidates. According to our simulations, an instrument like VEGA (or its successor e.g. Fibered and spectrally Resolved Interferometric Equipment New Design) should be able to detect, in the visual, the effect of spots and spots+rotation, provided that the instrument is able to measure V2 ≈ 10-3, and/or closure phase. In infrared, an instrument like AMBER but with longer baselines than the ones available so far would be able to measure rotation and spots. Our study provides necessary details about strategies of spot detections and the requirements for modern and planned interferometric facilities essential for CP star research. © 2014 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.