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Title: High-Contrast Imaging using Adaptive Optics for Extrasolar Planet Detection

Abstract

Direct imaging of extrasolar planets is an important, but challenging, next step in planetary science. Most planets identified to date have been detected indirectly--not by emitted or reflected light but through the effect of the planet on the parent star. For example, radial velocity techniques measure the doppler shift in the spectrum of the star produced by the presence of a planet. Indirect techniques only probe about 15% of the orbital parameter space of our solar system. Direct methods would probe new parameter space, and the detected light can be analyzed spectroscopically, providing new information about detected planets. High contrast adaptive optics systems, also known as Extreme Adaptive Optics (ExAO), will require contrasts of between 10 -6 and 10 -7 at angles of 4-24 λ/D on an 8-m class telescope to image young Jupiter-like planets still warm with the heat of formation. Contrast is defined as the intensity ratio of the dark wings of the image, where a planet might be, to the bright core of the star. Such instruments will be technically challenging, requiring high order adaptive optics with > 2000 actuators and improved diffraction suppression. Contrast is ultimately limited by residual static wavefront errors, so an extrasolar planetmore » imager will require wavefront control with an accuracy of better than 1 nm rms within the low- to mid-spatial frequency range. Laboratory demonstrations are critical to instrument development. The ExAO testbed at the Laboratory for Adaptive Optics was designed with low wavefront error and precision optical metrology, which is used to explore contrast limits and develop the technology needed for an extrasolar planet imager. A state-of-the-art, 1024-actuator micro-electrical-mechanical-systems (MEMS) deformable mirror was installed and characterized to provide active wavefront control and test this novel technology. I present 6.5 x 10 -8 contrast measurements with a prolate shaped pupil and flat mirror demonstrating that the testbed can operate in the necessary contrast regime. Wavefront measurements and simulations indicate that contrast is limited by wavefront error, not diffraction. I demonstrate feasibility of the MEMS deformable mirror for meeting the stringent residual wavefront error requirements of an extrasolar planet imager with closed-loop results of 0.54 nm rms within controllable spatial frequencies. Individual contributors to final wavefront quality have been identified and characterized. I also present contrast measurements of 2 x 10 -7 made with the MEMS device and identify amplitude errors as the limiting error source. Closed-loop performance and simulated far-field measurements using a Kolmogorov phase plate to introduce atmosphere-like optical errors are also presented.« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Univ. of California, Davis, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
900101
Report Number(s):
UCRL-TH-224123
TRN: US200709%%388
DOE Contract Number:
W-7405-ENG-48
Resource Type:
Thesis/Dissertation
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; ACCURACY; ACTUATORS; AMPLITUDES; DETECTION; DIFFRACTION; FORMATION HEAT; FREQUENCY RANGE; MIRRORS; OPTICS; PLANETS; PLATES; PROBES; RADIAL VELOCITY; SOLAR SYSTEM; STARS; TELESCOPES

Citation Formats

Evans, Julia Wilhelmsen. High-Contrast Imaging using Adaptive Optics for Extrasolar Planet Detection. United States: N. p., 2006. Web. doi:10.2172/900101.
Evans, Julia Wilhelmsen. High-Contrast Imaging using Adaptive Optics for Extrasolar Planet Detection. United States. doi:10.2172/900101.
Evans, Julia Wilhelmsen. Sun . "High-Contrast Imaging using Adaptive Optics for Extrasolar Planet Detection". United States. doi:10.2172/900101. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/900101.
@article{osti_900101,
title = {High-Contrast Imaging using Adaptive Optics for Extrasolar Planet Detection},
author = {Evans, Julia Wilhelmsen},
abstractNote = {Direct imaging of extrasolar planets is an important, but challenging, next step in planetary science. Most planets identified to date have been detected indirectly--not by emitted or reflected light but through the effect of the planet on the parent star. For example, radial velocity techniques measure the doppler shift in the spectrum of the star produced by the presence of a planet. Indirect techniques only probe about 15% of the orbital parameter space of our solar system. Direct methods would probe new parameter space, and the detected light can be analyzed spectroscopically, providing new information about detected planets. High contrast adaptive optics systems, also known as Extreme Adaptive Optics (ExAO), will require contrasts of between 10-6 and 10-7 at angles of 4-24 λ/D on an 8-m class telescope to image young Jupiter-like planets still warm with the heat of formation. Contrast is defined as the intensity ratio of the dark wings of the image, where a planet might be, to the bright core of the star. Such instruments will be technically challenging, requiring high order adaptive optics with > 2000 actuators and improved diffraction suppression. Contrast is ultimately limited by residual static wavefront errors, so an extrasolar planet imager will require wavefront control with an accuracy of better than 1 nm rms within the low- to mid-spatial frequency range. Laboratory demonstrations are critical to instrument development. The ExAO testbed at the Laboratory for Adaptive Optics was designed with low wavefront error and precision optical metrology, which is used to explore contrast limits and develop the technology needed for an extrasolar planet imager. A state-of-the-art, 1024-actuator micro-electrical-mechanical-systems (MEMS) deformable mirror was installed and characterized to provide active wavefront control and test this novel technology. I present 6.5 x 10-8 contrast measurements with a prolate shaped pupil and flat mirror demonstrating that the testbed can operate in the necessary contrast regime. Wavefront measurements and simulations indicate that contrast is limited by wavefront error, not diffraction. I demonstrate feasibility of the MEMS deformable mirror for meeting the stringent residual wavefront error requirements of an extrasolar planet imager with closed-loop results of 0.54 nm rms within controllable spatial frequencies. Individual contributors to final wavefront quality have been identified and characterized. I also present contrast measurements of 2 x 10-7 made with the MEMS device and identify amplitude errors as the limiting error source. Closed-loop performance and simulated far-field measurements using a Kolmogorov phase plate to introduce atmosphere-like optical errors are also presented.},
doi = {10.2172/900101},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2006},
month = {Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2006}
}

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