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Proceedings Paper

Imaging exoplanets with nulling interferometry using integrated-photonics: the GLINT project
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Paper Abstract

As confirmed exoplanets climb into the thousands, the era of exoplanets discovery is giving way to exoplanet characterization. The most desirable scenario is one where the exoplanet can be directly imaged. Direct imaging not only delivers orbital parameters, but also yields the chemical composition of the atmosphere. The potential for habitable zone exoplanets to exhibit biosignatures in such data from a visionary future instrument drives intense interest. However, this requires to simultaneously reach extremely high star-to-planet contrast (from 104 to 108) and extremely high angular resolution (around and below the diffraction limit). Accomplishing all this through the atmosphere blurred by turbulence remains a critical challenge, yet it is one that nulling interferometry in combination with extreme adaptive optics aims to meet. This technique overcomes the contrast problem by removing the starlight with destructive interference, permitting the faint light coming from the planet to remain. In this paper, we present the latest evolution of nulling interferometry instrumentation: the integrated- photonic nuller. It allows spatial filtering, multiple simultaneous baselines, simultaneous photometric channels and simultaneous measurement of the "nulled" signal (the light emitted from the planet after cancelling the starlight) as well as the "anti-nulled" signal (the channel containing the redirected starlight). Exploiting these fundamental optical principles, the delivery of imaging and differential spectroscopy of exoplanetary systems becomes possible. This paper describes a pathfinder that has implemented these ideas into a robust and compact photonic-chip platform known as the GLINT (Guided-Light Interferometric Nulling Technology) project.

Paper Details

Date Published: 3 January 2020
PDF: 2 pages
Proc. SPIE 11203, Advances in Optical Astronomical Instrumentation 2019, 112030R (3 January 2020); doi: 10.1117/12.2539790
Show Author Affiliations
M. A. Martinod, The Univ. of Sydney (Australia)
B. Norris, The Univ. of Sydney (Australia)
S. Gross, Macquarie Univ. (Australia)
A. Arriola, Macquarie Univ. (Australia)
T. Gretzinger, Macquarie Univ. (Australia)
M. Withford, Macquarie Univ. (Australia)
T. Lagadec, The Univ. of Sydney (Australia)
P. Tuthill, The Univ. of Sydney (Australia)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 11203:
Advances in Optical Astronomical Instrumentation 2019
Simon C. Ellis; Céline d'Orgeville, Editor(s)

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