The development of stellar coronagraphs for exoplanet detection requires apodized occulting masks to effectively remove the light from the central star while allowing planet light to propagate past. One possible implementation, a gray-scale mask, includes the placement of micron-scale neutral density light absorbing patterns using High Energy Beam Sensitive (HEBS) glass. A second implementation, binary masks, uses micron-scale diffractive/reflective patterns.
Coronagraph performance will be influenced by wavefront phase shifts introduced by the masks, hence accurate characterization of the fundamental optical properties, namely optical density (OD), phase advance/delay and optical constants of the material is needed for occulter design, development and modeling.
In this paper we describe an interferometric apparatus that measures wavefront phase advance/delay through grey-scale and binary masks as functions of wavelength and optical density, which is also measured. Results for HEBS gray-scale masks will be presented along with ellipsometric measurements of optical constants.