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Proceedings Paper

Vacuum nuller testbed (VNT) performance, characterization and null control: progress report
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Paper Abstract

Herein we report on the development, sensing and control and our first results with the Vacuum Nuller Testbed to realize a Visible Nulling Coronagraph (VNC) for exoplanet coronagraphy. The VNC is one of the few approaches that works with filled, segmented and sparse or diluted-aperture telescope systems. It thus spans a range of potential future NASA telescopes and could be flown as a separate instrument on such a future mission. NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) has a well-established effort to develop VNC technologies, and has developed an incremental sequence of VNC testbeds to advance this approach and the enabling technologies associated with it. We discuss the continued development of the vacuum Visible Nulling Coronagraph testbed (VNT). The VNT is an ultra-stable vibration isolated testbed that operates under closed-loop control within a vacuum chamber. It will be used to achieve an incremental sequence of three visible-light nulling milestones with sequentially higher contrasts of 108, 109, and ideally 1010 at an inner working angle of 2*λ/D. The VNT is based on a modified Mach-Zehnder nulling interferometer, with a "W" configuration to accommodate a hex-packed MEMS based deformable mirror, a coherent fiber bundle and achromatic phase shifters. We discuss the initial laboratory results, the optical configuration, critical technologies and the null sensing and control approach.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 September 2011
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 8151, Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets V, 81510F (15 September 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.894531
Show Author Affiliations
Richard G. Lyon, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Mark Clampin, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Peter Petrone, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Udayan Mallik, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Timothy Madison, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Matthew R. Bolcar, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
M. Charley Noecker, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. (United States)
Stephen Kendrick, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. (United States)
Michael Helmbrecht, Iris-AO (United States)


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

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