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14 June 2006 The visible nulling coronagraph: architecture definition and technology development status
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We describe the advantages of a nulling coronagraph instrument behind a single aperture space telescope for detection and spectroscopy of Earth-like extrasolar planets in visible light. Our concept synthesizes a nulling interferometer by shearing the telescope pupil into multiple beams. They are recombined with a pseudo-achromatic pi-phase shift in one arm to produce a deep null on-axis, attenuating the starlight, while simultaneously transmitting the off-axis planet light. Our nulling configuration includes methods to mitigate stellar leakage, such as spatial filtering by a coherent array of single mode fibers, balancing amplitude and phase with a segmented deformable mirror, and post-starlight suppression wavefront sensing and control. With diffraction limited telescope optics and similar quality components in the optical train (λ/20), suppression of the starlight to 10-10 is readily achievable. We describe key features of the architecture and analysis, present the status of key experiments to demonstrate wide bandwidth null depth, and present the status of component technology development.
© (2006) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
B. Martin Levine, Francisco Aguayo, Thomas Bifano, S. Felipe Fregoso, Joseph J. Green, Benjamin F. Lane, Duncan T. Liu, Bertrand Mennesson, Shanti Rao, Rocco Samuele, Michael Shao, Edouard Schmidtlin, Eugene Serabyn, Jason Stewart, and J. Kent Wallace "The visible nulling coronagraph: architecture definition and technology development status", Proc. SPIE 6265, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation I: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter, 62651A (14 June 2006);

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