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Proceedings Paper

Recent developments with the visible nulling coronagraph
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Paper Abstract

A wide array of general astrophysics studies including detecting and characterizing habitable exoplanets could be enabled by a future large segmented telescope with sensitivity in the UV, optical, and infrared bands. When paired with a starshade or coronagraph, such an observatory could enable direct imaging and detailed spectroscopic observations of nearby Earth-like habitable zone planets. Over the past several years, a laboratory-based Visible Nulling Coronagraph (VNC) has evolved to reach requisite contrasts over a ~ 1 nm bandwidth at narrow source angle separation using a segmented deformable mirror in one arm of a Mach-Zehnder layout. More recent efforts targeted broadband performance following the addition of two sets of half-wave Fresnel rhomb achromatic phase shifters (APS) with the goal of reaching 10-9 contrast, at a separation of 2λ/D, using a 40 nm (6%) bandwidth single mode fiber source. Here we present updates on the VNC broadband nulling effort, including approaches to addressing system contrast limitations.

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 August 2016
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 9907, Optical and Infrared Interferometry and Imaging V, 99072O (4 August 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2234315
Show Author Affiliations
Brian A. Hicks, Univ. of Maryland, College Park (United States)
NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Richard G. Lyon, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Matthew R. Bolcar, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Mark Clampin, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Peter Petrone, Sigma Space Corp. (United States)
Michael A. Helmbrecht, Iris AO, Inc. (Canada)
Joseph M. Howard, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Ian J. Miller, LightMachinery Inc. (Canada)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9907:
Optical and Infrared Interferometry and Imaging V
Fabien Malbet; Michelle J. Creech-Eakman; Peter G. Tuthill, Editor(s)

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