4 February 2002 Practical high-order adaptive optics systems for extrasolar planet searches
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Abstract
Direct detection of photons emitted or reflected by an extrasolar planet is an extremely difficult but extremely exciting application of adaptive optics. Typical contrast levels for an extrasolar planet would be 109 - Jupiter is a billion times fainter than the sun. Current adaptive optics systems can only achieve contrast levels of 106, but so-called extreme adaptive optics systems with 104 -105 degrees of freedom could potentially detect extrasolar planets. We explore the scaling laws defining the performance of these systems, first set out by Angel (1994), and derive a different definition of an optimal system. Our sensitivity predictions are somewhat more pessimistic than the original paper, due largely to slow decorrelation timescales for some noise sources, though choosing to site an ExAO system at a location with exceptional r0 (e.g. Mauna Kea) can offset this. We also explore the effects of segment aberrations in a Keck-like telescope on ExAO; although the effects are significant, they can be mitigated through Lyot coronagraphy.
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Bruce A. Macintosh, Scot S. Olivier, Brian J. Bauman, James M. Brase, Emily Carr, Carmen J. Carrano, Donald T. Gavel, Claire E. Max, Jennifer Patience, "Practical high-order adaptive optics systems for extrasolar planet searches", Proc. SPIE 4494, Adaptive Optics Systems and Technology II, (4 February 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.454815; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.454815
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