Self-coherent camera as a focal plane wavefront sensor: simulations
R. Galicher1,2, P. Baudoz1,2, G. Rousset1,2, J. Totems2,3 and M. Mas1,2
1 LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, CNRS, University Pierre et Marie Curie Paris 6 and University Denis Diderot Paris 7, 5 place Jules Janssen, 92195 Meudon, France e-mail: [raphael.galicher;pierre.baudoz;gerard.rousset]@obspm.fr
2 Groupement d'Intérêt Scientifique Partenariat Haute Résolution Angulaire Sol Espace (PHASE) between ONERA, Observatoire de Paris, CNRS and University Denis Diderot Paris 7, France
3 Onera / DOTA – Chemin de la Hunière – 91761 Palaiseau Cedex, France e-mail: email@example.com
Received: 16 July 2009
Accepted: 22 September 2009
Context. Direct detection of exoplanets requires high dynamic range imaging. Coronagraphs could be the solution, but their performance in space is limited by wavefront errors (manufacturing errors on optics, temperature variations, etc.), which create quasi-static stellar speckles in the final image.
Aims. Several solutions have been suggested for tackling this speckle noise. Differential imaging techniques substract a reference image to the coronagraphic residue in a post-processing imaging. Other techniques attempt to actively correct wavefront errors using a deformable mirror. In that case, wavefront aberrations have to be measured in the science image to extremely high accuracy.
Methods. We propose the self-coherent camera sequentially used as a focal-plane wavefront sensor for active correction and differential imaging. For both uses, stellar speckles are spatially encoded in the science image so that differential aberrations are strongly minimized. The encoding is based on the principle of light incoherence between the hosting star and its environment.
Results. In this paper, we first discuss one intrinsic limitation of deformable mirrors. Then, several parameters of the self-coherent camera are studied in detail. We also propose an easy and robust design to associate the self-coherent camera with a coronagraph that uses a Lyot stop. Finally, we discuss the case of the association with a four-quadrant phase mask and numerically demonstrate that such a device enables detection of Earth-like planets under realistic conditions.
Conclusions. The parametric study of the technique lets us believe it can be implemented quite easily in future instruments dedicated to direct imaging of exoplanets.
Key words: instrumentation: high angular resolution / instrumentation: interferometers / instrumentation: adaptive optics / techniques: image processing / techniques: high angular resolution
© ESO, 2010