18 July 2014 Laboratory demonstration of the Savart-plate lateral-shearing interferometric nuller for exoplanets (SPLINE)
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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, Hirofumi Kitou, Naoshi Murakami, Naoshi Murakami, Manabu Kida, Manabu Kida, Naoshi Baba, Naoshi Baba, Taro Matsuo, Taro Matsuo, Takayuki Kotani, Takayuki Kotani, Hajime Kawahara, Hajime Kawahara, Motohide Tamura, 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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