12 September 2012 Parasitic interference in classical and nulling stellar interferometry
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Abstract
A variety of instrumental effects can corrupt the observable quantities in optical or nulling stellar interferometry. One such effect is parasitic interference, which can occur inside an interferometric instrument. Because of diffraction effects related to beam propagation along finite size optics, or parasitic reflections inside transmitting optics, a coherent crosstalk may occur between the beams and create a parasitic interference pattern superimposed on the genuine one. We developed an analytical approach to describe the impact of this effect on the observables of classical and nulling stellar interferometers. Considering classical interferometry, we show that differential phase and closure phase are both corrupted, depending on the crosstalk level and the residual piston between the beams. Considering typical specifications of piston correction of ground-based interferometers (≈ 100 nm), the detection of hot Jupiter-like planets by differential phase implies a tolerance on the parasitic flux to about 5% of the incident intensity. Also, we show that the closure phase relation does not remove this parasitic contribution. The corresponding corrupted closure phase is not zero for an unresolved source, and depends on the residual piston. Considering nulling interferometry, we show that parasitic effects modify the transmission map level, depending on the crosstalk level and the phase shift between primary and secondary beams. In the extreme case of a pi-phase shift, the crosstalk effect implies a decrease of the final output signal-to-noise ratio. Numerical simulations, adapted to handle consistently crosstalk, are then performed to estimate this degradation and validate our theoretical study.
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A. Matter, D. Defrère, W. C. Danchi, B. Lopez, S. Lagarde, R. G. Petrov, M. Vannier, "Parasitic interference in classical and nulling stellar interferometry", Proc. SPIE 8445, Optical and Infrared Interferometry III, 84453J (12 September 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.926456; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.926456
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