Laboratory experiment of checkerboard pupil mask coronagraph
Department of Infrared Astrophysics, Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Yoshinodai 3-1-1, Sagamihara, Kanagawa 229-8510, Japan e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Department of Physics, Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo, Hongo 7-3-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
3 Optical and Infrared Astronomy Division & Extra-solar Planet Project Office, National Astronomical Observatory, Osawa 2-21-2, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-8588, Japan
Accepted: 20 September 2006
Context.We present the results of the first laboratory experiment of checkerboard shaped pupil binary mask coronagraphs using visible light, in the context of the R&D activities for future mid-infrared space missions such as the 3.5 m SPICA telescope.
Aims.The primary aim of this work is to demonstrate the coronagraphic performance of checkerboard masks down to a 10-6 peak-to-peak contrast, which is required to detect self-luminous extra-solar planets in the mid-infrared region.
Methods.Two masks, consisting of aluminum films on a glass substrates, were manufactured using nano-fabrication techniques with electron beam lithography: one mask was optimized for a pupil with a 30% central obstruction and the other was for a pupil without obstruction. The theoretical contrast for both masks was 10-7 and no adaptive optics system was employed.
Results. For both masks, the observed point spread functions were quite consistent with the theoretical ones. The average contrast measured within the dark regions was and .
Conclusions.The coronagraphic performance significantly outperformed the 10-6 requirement and almost reached the theoretical limit determined by the mask designs. We discuss the potential application of checkerboard masks for mid-infrared coronagraphy, and conclude that binary masks are promising for future high-contrast space telescopes.
Key words: instrumentation: high angular resolution / methods: laboratory / techniques: miscellaneous
© ESO, 2006