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Proceedings Paper

A combined nulling and imaging pupil-plane beam-combiner for DARWIN
Author(s): Ron P. H. Haaksman; Cor P. de Vries; Jan-Willem den Herder; L. L. A. Vosteen; Henk Bokhove; Arjan L. Mieremet
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Paper Abstract

The primary goal of DARWIN is to detect earth-like extrasolar planets and to search for biomarkers. This is achieved by means of nulling interferometry, using three free-flying telescopes and a Beam-Combiner (BC) hub. DARWIN will be able to perform astrophysical imaging with high spectral and spatial resolution. Should one of Darwin's telescope flyers fail, then Darwin's capability of detecting earth-sized exo-planets is dramatically reduced. However, with only two telescopes the imaging mode can continue operating with minimal performance degradation, thus ensuring mission success. This work describes a trade-off study between four conceptual three-beam BC's, that are capable of performing both as a nuller and as an imager. A proposed breadboard design will demonstrate end-to-end Fringe-Tracking (FT) and Optical Path-Length (OPL) control. The BC concept is based on a pupil-plane (Michelson) beam combination scheme. Pupil-plane imaging BC's offer a large overlap in terms of optical layout with the nulling BC concept, making it possible to develop a combined nulling- and imaging BC. This means that a reduced number of optical components can be used compared to a scheme with separate BC's. The BC concept inherently compensates for unequal OPL's, which in ground-based interferometers is compensated for by long stroke Optical Delay Lines (ODL's).

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 June 2006
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 6268, Advances in Stellar Interferometry, 62682Q (28 June 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.669167
Show Author Affiliations
Ron P. H. Haaksman, SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research (Netherlands)
Cor P. de Vries, SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research (Netherlands)
Jan-Willem den Herder, SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research (Netherlands)
L. L. A. Vosteen, TNO Science and Industry (Netherlands)
Henk Bokhove, TNO Science and Industry (Netherlands)
Arjan L. Mieremet, cosine Research BV (Netherlands)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6268:
Advances in Stellar Interferometry
John D. Monnier; Markus Schöller; William C. Danchi, Editor(s)

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