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Design description and commissioning performance of a stable coronagraph technology development testbed for direct imaging of Earth-like exoplanets
Author(s): Keith Patterson; Byoung-Joon Seo; Kunjithapatham Balasubramanian; Talso Chui; Brendan Crill; John Gill; Brian Kern; Ray Lam; David Marx; Dwight Moody; Richard Muller; Camilo Mejia Prada; Garreth Ruane; Jordan Rupp; John Shaw; Fang Shi; Nicholas Siegler; Hong Tang; John Trauger; Victor White; Daniel Wilson; Karl Yee; Robert Zimmer

Paper Abstract

Direct imaging of an Earth-like exoplanet requires starlight suppression with a contrast ratio on the order of 1E-10 at small angular separations of 100 milliarcseconds or less in visible light. To our knowledge, the technology needed to achieve and maintain these contrast levels for imaging faint exoplanet light signals has not been demonstrated as of January 2019. To aid the technology development to reach this capability and enable future exoplanet missions, we built a high contrast coronagraph testbed, titled the “Decadal Survey Testbed”, in the High Contrast Imaging Testbed (HCIT) facility at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The testbed design effort began in 2017, and it was commissioned in late 2018. The testbed employs a space-like vacuum environment for the elimination of air turbulence and heat convection, radiation insulation blankets and 16-zone heater control for additional thermal stability, a low CTE composite bench, no fold mirrors, minimal number of surfaces, and vibration isolation required for high contrast coronagraph experiments. It uses two deformable mirrors to provide a full annular 360 degree dark hole between 3 to 9 lambda/D at 550 nm. As of January 2019, the testbed has repeatedly demonstrated: a monochromatic average raw contrast floor around 1E-10 limited by the voltage bit resolution of our deformable mirror electronics, open-loop raw contrast drift rates of around 1E-10/hour, temperature drift stabilities of <10 milliKelvins/day, and passive pointing stability of <0.06 lambda/D per day on the occulting mask. The testbed is also equipped with a WaveFront Sensing and Control (WFSC) subsystem that has yet to be commissioned. It is planned for use in future contrast stability experiments.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 September 2019
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Proc. SPIE 11117, Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets IX, 111171U (9 September 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2530401
Show Author Affiliations
Keith Patterson, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Byoung-Joon Seo, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Kunjithapatham Balasubramanian, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Talso Chui, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Brendan Crill, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
John Gill, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Brian Kern, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Ray Lam, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
David Marx, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Dwight Moody, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Richard Muller, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Camilo Mejia Prada, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Garreth Ruane, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Jordan Rupp, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
John Shaw, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Fang Shi, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Nicholas Siegler, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Hong Tang, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
John Trauger, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Victor White, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Daniel Wilson, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Karl Yee, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Robert Zimmer, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 11117:
Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets IX
Stuart B. Shaklan, Editor(s)

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