Apodized pupil Lyot coronagraphs designs for future segmented space telescopes

Kathryn St Laurent, Kevin Fogarty, Neil T. Zimmerman, Mamadou N'Diaye, Christopher C. Stark, Johan Mazoyer, Anand Sivaramakrishnan, Laurent Pueyo, Stuart Shaklan, Robert Vanderbei, Rémi Soummer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

8 Scopus citations


A coronagraphic starlight suppression system situated on a future flagship space observatory offers a promising avenue to image Earth-like exoplanets and search for biomarkers in their atmospheric spectra. One NASA mission concept that could serve as the platform to realize this scientific breakthrough is the Large UV/Optical/IR Surveyor (LUVOIR). Such a mission would also address a broad range of topics in astrophysics with a multiwavelength suite of instruments. The apodized pupil Lyot coronagraph (APLC) is one of several coronagraph design families that the community is assessing as part of NASAs Exoplanet Exploration Program Segmented aperture coronagraph design and analysis (SCDA) team. The APLC is a Lyot-style coronagraph that suppresses starlight through a series of amplitude operations on the on-axis field. Given a suite of seven plausible segmented telescope apertures, we have developed an object-oriented software toolkit to automate the exploration of thousands of APLC design parameter combinations. This has enabled us to empirically establish relationships between planet throughput and telescope aperture geometry, inner working angle, bandwidth, and contrast level. In parallel with the parameter space exploration, we have investigated several strategies to improve the robustness of APLC designs to fabrication and alignment errors. We also investigate the combination of APLC with wavefront control or complex focal plane masks to improve inner working angle and throughput. Preliminary scientific yield evaluations based on design reference mission simulations indicate the APLC is a very competitive concept for surveying the local exoEarth population with a mission like LUVOIR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2018
Subtitle of host publicationOptical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave
EditorsGiovanni G. Fazio, Howard A. MacEwen, Makenzie Lystrup
ISBN (Print)9781510619494
StatePublished - 2018
EventSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2018: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave - Austin, United States
Duration: Jun 10 2018Jun 15 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2018: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Coronagraph
  • Exoplanet
  • High-contrast imaging
  • Segmented telescope


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