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Proceedings Paper

TPF-Interferometer: a decade of development in exoplanet detection technology
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Paper Abstract

The last decade has seen great advances in interferometric nulling technology, propelled at first by the SIM and KECK nulling programs and then by the Terrestrial Planet Finder Interferometer (TPF-I). In the infrared at N-band (using a CO2 laser at 10.6 micron wavelength) the first million to one nulls were reported on a KECK testbed in 2003. For TPF-I, nulls needed to be both deep and broadband, and a suite of testbeds was designed and built to study all aspects of achromatic nulling and system implementation, including formation flying technology. Also, observatory designs were drawn up and studied against performance models. Modeling revealed that natural variations in the alignment and control of the optical system produced an "instability noise" signal and this realization eventually led to a redesign of the layout to a rectangular formation. The complexity of the early TPF-I spacecraft design was mitigated by the infusion of ideas from Europe and produced the current X-Array design which utilizes simple reflectors to form the apertures together with a stretched three dimensional formation geometry. This paper summarizes the main achievements of the infrared nulling technology program including the development of adaptive nulling for broadband performance and the demonstration of starlight suppression by 100 million to one.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 September 2011
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 8151, Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets V, 81510D (15 September 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.893839
Show Author Affiliations
Stefan Martin, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Alex Ksendzov, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Oliver Lay, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Robert D. Peters, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Daniel P. Scharf, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8151:
Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets V
Stuart Shaklan, Editor(s)

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