High-performance 3D waveguide architecture for astronomical pupil-remapping interferometry

Barnaby Norris, Nick Cvetojevic, Simon Gross, Nemanja Jovanovic, Paul N. Stewart, Ned Charles, Jon S. Lawrence, Michael J. Withford, Peter Tuthill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The detection and characterization of extra-solar planets is a major theme driving modern astronomy. Direct imaging of exoplanets allows access to a parameter space complementary to other detection methods, and potentially the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres and surfaces. However achieving the required levels of performance with direct imaging from ground-based telescopes (subject to Earth's turbulent atmosphere) has been extremely challenging. Here we demonstrate a new generation of photonic pupil-remapping devices which build upon the Dragonfly instrument, a high contrast waveguide-based interferometer. This new generation overcomes problems caused by interference from unguided light and low throughput. Closure phase measurement scatter of only ∼ 0.2° has been achieved, with waveguide throughputs of > 70%. This translates to a maximum contrast-ratio sensitivity between star and planet at 1λ/D (1α detection) of 5.3 x 10-4 (with a conventional adaptive-optics system) or 1.8 x 10-4 (with 'extreme-AO'), improving even further when random error is minimized by averaging over multiple exposures. This is an order of magnitude beyond conventional pupil-segmenting interferometry techniques (such as aperture masking), allowing a previously inaccessible part of the star to planet contrast-separation parameter space to be explored.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18335-18353
Number of pages19
JournalOptics Express
Volume22
Issue number15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

This paper was published in Optics express and is made available as an electronic reprint with the permission of OSA. The paper can be found at the following URL on the OSA website: http://www.opticsinfobase.org/oe/abstract.cfm?uri=oe-22-15-18335. Systematic or multiple reproduction or distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.

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