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Proceedings Paper

A vector diffraction model of wave propagation in a coronagraphic terrestrial planet finder
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Paper Abstract

In this work we study vector electromagnetic wave propagation in a visible-light coronagraph for applications to the design and analysis of Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF). A visible light coronagraph in TPF requires detection of a terrestrial planet which is ~1010 dimmer than the central stellar source. Consequently, any theory used to design and analyze TPF requires accuracy better than 10-10 in intensity or 10-5 in electric field. Current coronagraphic approaches to TPF have relied on scalar diffraction theory. However, the vector nature of light requires a vector approach to the problem. In this study we employ a time-harmonic vector theory to study the electromagnetic field propagation through metallic focal plane occulting mask on dielectric substrate. We use parallelized edge-based vector finite element model to compute the wave propagation in a three-dimensional tetrahedral grid representing the geometry of the coronagraph. The edge-based finite element method overcomes the problem of modal propagation and rigorously enforces the field divergence to be zero. The reflectivity and transmittivity in the geometry are computed through the gold metal in various shapes using a planar incident beam. Subsequently, the near-field beam diffraction around the mask is investigated.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 October 2004
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 5487, Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Space Telescopes, (12 October 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.552163
Show Author Affiliations
Shahram Shiri, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Richard G. Lyon, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Robert A. Woodruff, Lockheed Martin Corp. (United States)
Roman Antosik, City Univ. of New York (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5487:
Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Space Telescopes
John C. Mather, Editor(s)

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