6 July 2018 Enhanced exoplanet biosignature detection from an interferometer addition to low resolution spectrographs
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Abstract
The physics of molecular vibration causes absorption spectra of atmospheric molecules to be a group of approximately periodic fine lines. This is fortuitous for detecting exoplanet biosignificant molecules, since it approximately matches the periodic sinusoidal transmission of an interferometer. The series addition of a 0.6 cm interferometer with a dispersive spectrograph creates moire patterns. These enhance detection by several orders of magnitude for initially low resolution spectrographs. We simulate the Gemini Planet Imager integral field spectrograph observing a telluric spectrum of native resolutions 40 and 70 for 1.65 and 2 micron bands– too low to resolve the fine lines. The interferometer addition increases the detectability of the molecular signal, relative to photon noise, to a level similar to a R=4400 (at 1.65 micron) or R=3900 (at 2 micron) spectrograph.
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David J. Erskine, David J. Erskine, Philip S. Muirhead, Philip S. Muirhead, Andrew M. Vanderburg, Andrew M. Vanderburg, Andrew Szentgyorgyi, Andrew Szentgyorgyi, "Enhanced exoplanet biosignature detection from an interferometer addition to low resolution spectrographs", Proc. SPIE 10702, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VII, 107024G (6 July 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2303586; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2303586
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