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Proceedings Paper

The visible nulling coronagraph: architecture definition and technology development status
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Paper Abstract

We describe the advantages of a nulling coronagraph instrument behind a single aperture space telescope for detection and spectroscopy of Earth-like extrasolar planets in visible light. Our concept synthesizes a nulling interferometer by shearing the telescope pupil into multiple beams. They are recombined with a pseudo-achromatic pi-phase shift in one arm to produce a deep null on-axis, attenuating the starlight, while simultaneously transmitting the off-axis planet light. Our nulling configuration includes methods to mitigate stellar leakage, such as spatial filtering by a coherent array of single mode fibers, balancing amplitude and phase with a segmented deformable mirror, and post-starlight suppression wavefront sensing and control. With diffraction limited telescope optics and similar quality components in the optical train (λ/20), suppression of the starlight to 10-10 is readily achievable. We describe key features of the architecture and analysis, present the status of key experiments to demonstrate wide bandwidth null depth, and present the status of component technology development.

Paper Details

Date Published: 14 June 2006
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 6265, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation I: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter, 62651A (14 June 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.672736
Show Author Affiliations
B. Martin Levine, NASA/Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Francisco Aguayo, NASA/Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Thomas Bifano, Boston Univ. (United States)
Boston Micromachines Corp. (United States)
S. Felipe Fregoso, NASA/Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Joseph J. Green, NASA/Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Benjamin F. Lane, MIT Ctr. for Space Research (United States)
Duncan T. Liu, NASA/Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Bertrand Mennesson, NASA/Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Shanti Rao, NASA/Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Rocco Samuele, Northup-Grumman Space Technology Corp. (United States)
Michael Shao, NASA/Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Edouard Schmidtlin, NASA/Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Eugene Serabyn, NASA/Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Jason Stewart, Boston Univ. (United States)
J. Kent Wallace, NASA/Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6265:
Space Telescopes and Instrumentation I: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter
John C. Mather; Howard A. MacEwen; Mattheus W. M. de Graauw, Editor(s)

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