EXCEDE technology development I: First demonstrations of high contrast at 1.2 λ/D for an explorer space telescope mission

Ruslan Belikov, Eugene Pluzhnik, Fred C. Witteborn, Thomas P. Greene, Dana H. Lynch, Peter T. Zell, Glenn Schneider, Olivier Guyon, Domenick Tenerelli

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

18 Scopus citations

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2012
Subtitle of host publicationOptical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012
Externally publishedYes
EventSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2012: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: Jul 1 2012Jul 6 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Volume8442
ISSN (Print)0277-786X

Other

OtherSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2012: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave
CountryNetherlands
CityAmsterdam
Period7/1/127/6/12

Keywords

  • Coronagraph
  • Extrasolar planet
  • High contrast
  • Piaa
  • Wavefront control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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