21 September 2012 High contrast vacuum nuller testbed (VNT) contrast, performance, and null control
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Abstract
Herein we report on our Visible Nulling Coronagraph high-contrast result of 109 contrast averaged over a focal plane region extending from 1 – 4 λ/D with the Vacuum Nuller Testbed (VNT) in a vibration isolated vacuum chamber. The VNC is a hybrid interferometric/coronagraphic approach for exoplanet science. It operates with high Lyot stop efficiency for filled, segmented and sparse or diluted-aperture telescopes, thereby spanning the range of potential future NASA flight telescopes. NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) has a well-established effort to develop the VNC and its technologies, and has developed an incremental sequence of VNC testbeds to advance this approach and its enabling technologies. These testbeds have enabled advancement of high-contrast, visible light, nulling interferometry to unprecedented levels. The VNC is based on a modified Mach-Zehnder nulling interferometer, with a “W” configuration to accommodate a hex-packed MEMS based deformable mirror, a coherent fiber bundle and achromatic phase shifters. We give an overview of the VNT and discuss the high-contrast laboratory results, the optical configuration, critical technologies and null sensing and control.
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Richard G. Lyon, Mark Clampin, Peter Petrone, Udayan Mallik, Timothy Madison, Matthew R. Bolcar, "High contrast vacuum nuller testbed (VNT) contrast, performance, and null control", Proc. SPIE 8442, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2012: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave, 844208 (21 September 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.926889; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.926889
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KEYWORDS
Image segmentation

Cameras

Nulling interferometry

Beam splitters

Wavefronts

Interferometers

Space telescopes

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