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Proceedings Paper

EXCEDE technology development I: first demonstrations of high contrast at 1.2 l/D for an Explorer space telescope mission
Author(s): Ruslan Belikov; Eugene Pluzhnik; Fred C. Witteborn; Thomas P. Greene; Dana H. Lynch; Peter T. Zell; Glenn Schneider; Olivier Guyon; Domenick Tenerelli
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Paper Abstract

Coronagraph technology is advancing and promises to enable space telescopes capable of seeing debris disks as well as seeing and spectrally characterizing exo-Earths. Recently, NASA's explorer program has selected the EXCEDE (EXoplanetary Circumstellar Environments and Disk Explorer) mission concept for technology development. EXCEDE is a 0.7m space telescope concept designed to achieve raw contrasts of 1e-6 at an inner working angle of 1.2 λ/D and 1e- 7 at 2 λ/D. In addition to doing fundamental science on debris disks, EXCEDE will also serve as a technological and scientific precursor for an exo-Earth imaging mission. EXCEDE uses a Starlight Suppression System (SSS) based on the Phase Induced Amplitude Apodization (PIAA) coronagraph to provide high throughput and high contrast close to the diffraction limit, enabling aggressive performance on small telescopes. We report on the latest progress in developing the SSS and present coronagraphic performance results from our air testbed at NASA Ames. Our results include a lab demonstration of 1e-5 contrast at 1.2 λ/D, 1.3e-6 contrast at 1.4 λ/D and 2e-8 at 2 λ/D in monochromatic light. In addition, we discuss tip-tilt instabilities, which are believed to be our main limiting factor at present, and ways of characterizing them.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 September 2012
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 8442, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2012: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave, 844209 (21 September 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.927218
Show Author Affiliations
Ruslan Belikov, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Eugene Pluzhnik, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Fred C. Witteborn, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Thomas P. Greene, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Dana H. Lynch, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Peter T. Zell, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Glenn Schneider, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Olivier Guyon, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Domenick Tenerelli, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8442:
Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2012: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave
Mark C. Clampin; Giovanni G. Fazio; Howard A. MacEwen; Jacobus M. Oschmann Jr., Editor(s)

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