Tip-tilt estimation and correction using FQPM coronagraphic images
LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, CNRS, Univ. Paris Diderot – Paris 7,
UPMC Paris 6, 5
place Jules Janssen,
2 National Research Council Canada, Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics, 5071 West Saanich Road, Victoria, BC, V9E 2E7, Canada
3 Dept. de Physique, Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128 Succ. Centre-ville, Montréal, Qc, H3C 3J7, Canada
Accepted: 6 January 2012
Context. Direct imaging of exoplanets located a few AU from their hosting star requires angular resolution at the diffraction limit of large telescopes and a contrast level in the image of 105 to 1010. Simultaneous use of adaptive optics and coronagraphy is mandatory to fulfil these requirements.
Aims. Coronagraphs are usually very sensitive to pointing errors upstream of their focal plane mask. Approaches to measuring these errors in conventional adaptive optics systems consist in setting a wavefront sensor in an additional channel. Differential aberrations between the coronagraphic channel and the additional one induce a loss in performance. To tackle this limitation, we propose a new technique for measuring the tip-tilt errors directly from the coronagraphic image.
Methods. Our method uses the relations between the intensity distribution in the coronagraphic image and upstream tip-tilt errors. We also propose a method of estimating the tip-tilt errors downstream of the focal plane mask. We validate at visible wavelength our upstream and downstream tip-tilt estimation and compensation techniques with numerical simulation images and on laboratory images.
Results. Numerical simulations predict that our techniques correct for the tip-tilt errors to a 1.3 × 10-2 λ/D level when considering a λ/40 wavefront error upstream of the coronagraph. In laboratory, where the coronagraph is mostly limited by wavefront errors, we correct for the tip-tilt errors with an accuracy better than 6.5 × 10-2 λ/D.
Conclusions. We demonstrate in numerical simulations and in laboratory that our technique can efficiently estimate the tip-tilt errors directly from the coronagraphic image with no additional channel. It is robust and can be used with small wavefront errors. It should be applicable to planet imager systems currently in preparation, such as SPHERE and MIRI/JWST.
Key words: instrumentation: adaptive optics / instrumentation: high angular resolution / methods: laboratory / techniques: image processing
© ESO, 2012