Design, analysis, and testing of a microdot apodizer for the apodized pupil Lyot coronagraph
III. Application to extremely large telescopes
European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2, 85748 Garching, Germany e-mail: email@example.com
2 Aktiwave, 241 Ashley drive, Rochester, NY, 14620, USA
3 LESIA, Observatoire de Paris Meudon, 5 pl. J. Janssen, 92195 Meudon, France
4 LAM, Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille, 38 rue Frédéric Joliot Curie, 13388 Marseille Cedex 13, France
Accepted: 24 August 2010
Context. The apodized-pupil Lyot coronagraph is one of the most advanced starlight cancellation concepts studied intensively in the past few years. Extreme adaptive optics instruments built for present-day 8m class telescopes will operate with such coronagraph for imagery and spectroscopy of faint stellar companions.
Aims. Following the development of an early demonstrator in the context of the VLT-SPHERE project (~2012), we manufactured and tested a second APLC prototype in microdots designed for extremely large telescopes. This study has been conducted in the context of the EPICS instrument project for the European-ELT (~2018), where a proof of concept is required at this stage.
Methods. Our prototype was specifically designed for the European-ELT pupil, taking its large central obscuration ratio (30%) into account. Near-IR laboratory results are compared with simulations.
Results. We demonstrate good agreement with theory. A peak attenuation of 295 was achieved, and contrasts of 10-5 and 10-6 were reached at 7 and 12 λ/D, respectively. We show that the APLC is able to maintain these contrasts with a central obscuration ratio of the telescope in the range 15% to 30%, and we report that these performances can be achieved in a wide wavelength bandpass (Δλ/λ = 24%). In addition, we report improvement to the accuracy of the control of the local transmission of the manufactured microdot apodizer to that of the previous prototype. The local profile error is found to be less than 2%.
Conclusions. The maturity and reproducibility of the APLC made with microdots is demonstrated. The apodized pupil Lyot coronagraph is confirmed to be a pertinent candidate for high-contrast imaging with ELTs.
Key words: techniques: high angular resolution / instrumentation: high angular resolution / telescopes / methods: laboratory
© ESO, 2010