18 July 2014 Laboratory demonstration of the Savart-plate lateral-shearing interferometric nuller for exoplanets (SPLINE)
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Abstract
We have developed the Savart-Plate Lateral-shearing Interferometric Nuller for Exoplanets (SPLINE), which is a kind of a nulling interferometer, for directly imaging exoplanets. The SPLINE consists of two polarizers and a Savart plate between them. The SPLINE can theoretically obtain fully achromatic and stable nulled output. However, a drawback of the SPLINE is its low system throughput due to the polarizers. For improving the system throughput, we propose a dualchannel SPLINE using polarization beam splitters instead of the polarizers. We have carried out laboratory demonstration of the dual-channel SPLINE. The achievable contrast of the SPLINE is limited by residual speckles caused by surface roughness of optical elements. For improving the achievable contrast, we propose a method of wavefront correction using a liquid-crystal spatial light modulator (LCSLM). We have carried out preliminary laboratory demonstration using a liquid-crystal variable retarder (LCVR), instead of the LCSLM, for simulating the proposed wavefront correction method. We report the laboratory demonstration in this paper.
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Hirofumi Kitou, Naoshi Murakami, Manabu Kida, Naoshi Baba, Taro Matsuo, Takayuki Kotani, Hajime Kawahara, Motohide Tamura, "Laboratory demonstration of the Savart-plate lateral-shearing interferometric nuller for exoplanets (SPLINE)", Proc. SPIE 9151, Advances in Optical and Mechanical Technologies for Telescopes and Instrumentation, 91515N (18 July 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2055287; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2055287
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