19 November 2003 Planet detection in visible light with a single aperture telescope and nulling coronagraph
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Abstract
This paper describes the latest progress for visible direct detection of Earth like extrasolar planets using a nulling coronagraph instrument behind a 4m class telescope. Such a system is capable of satisfying the scientific objectives of the Terrestrial Planet Finder mission In our design, a 4 beam nulling interferometer is synthesized from the telescope pupil, producing a very deep null proportional to θ4 which is then filtered by a coherent array of single mode fibers to suppress the residual scattered light. With diffraction limited telescope optics and similar quality components in the optical train (λ/20), suppression of the starlight to 10-10 is achievable. Such a telescope with this nulling interferometer as back-end instrument can image and detect planets, or provide the input to a low resolution spectrometer. Shown are key features of this system in a space mission, latest results of laboratory measurements demonstrating achievable null depth, and progress toward fabrication of coherent single mode fiber arrays.
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B. Martin Levine, Michael Shao, Duncan T. Liu, James K. Wallace, Benjamin F. Lane, "Planet detection in visible light with a single aperture telescope and nulling coronagraph", Proc. SPIE 5170, Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets, (19 November 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.507807; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.507807
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