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Proceedings Paper

Optimizing coronagraph designs to minimize their contrast sensitivity to low-order optical aberrations
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Paper Abstract

The presence of optical aberrations in the entrance pupil of a coronagraph causes the stellar light to scatter about the occulting spot, reducing the effective contrast achievable. Even if these aberrations are sufficiently corrected with a deformable mirror to enable planet detection, small drifts in the optical alignment of the telescope introduce additional low-order aberrations. The design parameters of the coronagraph itself (e.g. occulting spot size, Lyot stop diameter, etc.) affect how these aberrations impact the contrast in the focal plane. In this study, we examine the sensitivity of contrast to low-order optical errors for several coronagraph concepts over their respective design parameters. By combining these sensitivities with the telescope throughput, we show that for each coronagraph concept there is an optimum selection of the design parameters that provides efficient, high-contrast imaging at the inner working distance in the presence of alignment errors.

Paper Details

Date Published: 19 November 2003
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 5170, Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets, (19 November 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.506485
Show Author Affiliations
Joseph J. Green, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Stuart B. Shaklan, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5170:
Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets
Daniel R. Coulter, Editor(s)

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