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19 November 2003 Extreme adaptive optics planet imager: XAOPI
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Abstract
Ground based adaptive optics is a potentially powerful technique for direct imaging detection of extrasolar planets. Turbulence in the Earth's atmosphere imposes some fundamental limits, but the large size of ground-based telescopes compared to spacecraft can work to mitigate this. We are carrying out a design study for a dedicated ultra-high-contrast system, the eXtreme Adaptive Optics Planet Imager (XAOPI), which could be deployed on an 8-10m telescope in 2007. With a 4096-actuator MEMS deformable mirror it should achieve Strehl >0.9 in the near-IR. Using an innovative spatially filtered wavefront sensor, the system will be optimized to control scattered light over a large radius and suppress artifacts caused by static errors. We predict that it will achieve contrast levels of 107-108 at angular separations of 0.2-0.8" around a large sample of stars (R<7-10), sufficient to detect Jupiter-like planets through their near-IR emission over a wide range of ages and masses. We are constructing a high-contrast AO testbed to verify key concepts of our system, and present preliminary results here, showing an RMS wavefront error of <1.3 nm with a flat mirror.
© (2003) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
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