21 July 2010 SIM Lite mission spectral calibration sensitivities and refinements
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Abstract
SIM-Lite missions will perform astrometry at microarcsecond accuracy using star light interferometry. For typical baselines that are shorter than 10 meters, this requires to measure optical path difference (OPD) accurate to tens of picometers calling for highly accurate calibration. A major challenge is to calibrate the star spectral dependency in fringe measurements - the spectral calibration. Previously, we have developed a spectral calibration and estimation scheme achieving picometer level accuracy. In this paper, we present the improvements regarding the application of this scheme from sensitivity studies. Data from the SIM Spectral Calibration Development Unit (SCDU) test facility shows that the fringe OPD is very sensitive to pointings of both beams from the two arms of the interferometer. This sensitivity coupled with a systematic pointing error provides a mechanism to explain the bias changes in 2007. Improving system alignment can effectively reduce this sensitivity and thus errors due to pointing errors. Modeling this sensitivity can lead to further improvement in data processing. We then investigate the sensitivity to a model parameter, the bandwidth used in the fringe model, which presents an interesting trade between systematic and random errors. Finally we show the mitigation of calibration errors due to system drifts by interpolating instrument calibrations. These improvements enable us to use SCDU data to demonstrate that SIM-Lite missions can meet the 1pm noise floor requirement for detecting earth-like exoplanets.
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C. Zhai, X. An, R. Goullioud, B. Nemati, M. Shao, J. Shen, X. Wang, U. Wehmeier, M. Weilert, T. Werne, and J. Wu "SIM Lite mission spectral calibration sensitivities and refinements", Proc. SPIE 7734, Optical and Infrared Interferometry II, 77341J (21 July 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.856336; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.856336
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