26 September 2013 Calibrating apodizer fabrication techniques for high-contrast coronagraphs on segmented and monolithic space telescopes
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High contrast imaging can use pupil apodizers to suppress diffracted starlight from a bright source in order to observe its environs. Metallic half-tone dot transmissive apodizers were developed for the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) and ESO SPHERE coronagraphs for use in the near-IR. Dot sizes on the scale of the wavelength of the light often result in unexpected variations in the optical transmission vs. superficial dot density relation. We measured 5 and 10 micron half-tone microdot screens' transmissions between 550 -1050 nm to prepare to fabricate apodizations that mitigate diffraction by segments gaps and spiders on future large space telescopes. We utilized slow test beams (f/40, f/80) to estimate the on-axis (far-field, or zero-order) transmission of test patches using a Fourier Transform Spectrograph on Beamline U10B at Brookhaven National Laboratory's National Synchrotron Light Source (BNL NSLS). We also modified our previous GPI IR characterization hardware and methods for this experiment. Our measurements show an internal consistency of 0.1% in transmission, a factor of 5 better than our near-IR GPI work on the NSLS U4IR beamline. The systematics of the set-up appeared to limit the absolute calibration for our f/40 data on the 50-patch, maximum Optical Density 3 (OD3), sample. Credible measurements of transmissions down to about 3% transmission were achieved for this sample. Future work on apodizers for obstructed and segmented primary mirror coronagraphs will require configurations that mimic the intended diffractive configurations closely in order to tune apodizer fabrication to any particular application, and measure chromatic effects in representative diffractive regimes. Further experimental refinements are needed to measure the densest test patches which possess transmissions less than a few percent. The new NSLS-II should provide much greater spectral stability of its synchrotron beam, which will improve measurement accuracy and reduce systematics.
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Anand Sivaramakrishnan, Alexandra Z. Greenbaum, G. Lawrence Carr, Randy J. Smith, Xiaoxiang Xi, and Neil T. Zimmerman "Calibrating apodizer fabrication techniques for high-contrast coronagraphs on segmented and monolithic space telescopes", Proc. SPIE 8860, UV/Optical/IR Space Telescopes and Instruments: Innovative Technologies and Concepts VI, 88600W (26 September 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2024091; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2024091


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