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Enhanced exoplanet biosignature detection from an interferometer addition to low resolution spectrographs
Author(s): David J. Erskine; Philip S. Muirhead; Andrew M. Vanderburg; Andrew Szentgyorgyi
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Paper Abstract

The physics of molecular vibration causes absorption spectra of atmospheric molecules to be a group of approximately periodic fine lines. This is fortuitous for detecting exoplanet biosignificant molecules, since it approximately matches the periodic sinusoidal transmission of an interferometer. The series addition of a 0.6 cm interferometer with a dispersive spectrograph creates moire patterns. These enhance detection by several orders of magnitude for initially low resolution spectrographs. We simulate the Gemini Planet Imager integral field spectrograph observing a telluric spectrum of native resolutions 40 and 70 for 1.65 and 2 micron bands– too low to resolve the fine lines. The interferometer addition increases the detectability of the molecular signal, relative to photon noise, to a level similar to a R=4400 (at 1.65 micron) or R=3900 (at 2 micron) spectrograph.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 July 2018
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 10702, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VII, 107024G (6 July 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2303586
Show Author Affiliations
David J. Erskine, Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (United States)
Philip S. Muirhead, Boston Univ. (United States)
Andrew M. Vanderburg, The Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
Andrew Szentgyorgyi, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10702:
Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VII
Christopher J. Evans; Luc Simard; Hideki Takami, Editor(s)

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