Design of a laboratory testbed for external occulters at flight Fresnel numbers

Yunjong Kim, Mike Galvin, N. Jeremy Kasdin, Robert J. Vanderbei, Dongok Ryu, Ki Won Kim, Sug Whan Kim, Dan Sirbu

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

10 Scopus citations


One of the main candidates for creating high-contrast for future Exo-Earth detection is an external occulter or sharshade. A starshade blocks the light from the parent star by flying in formation along the line-of-sight from a space telescope. Because of its large size and scale it is impossible to fully test a starshade system on the ground before launch. Instead, we rely on modeling supported by subscale laboratory tests to verify the models. At Princeton, we are designing and building a subscale testbed to verify the suppression and contrast of a starshade at the same Fresnel number as a flight system, and thus mathematically identical to a realistic space mission. Here we present the mechanical design of the testbed and simulations predicting the ultimate contrast performance. We will also present progress in implementation and preliminary results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTechniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets VII
EditorsStuart Shaklan
ISBN (Electronic)9781628417715
StatePublished - 2015
EventTechniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets VII - San Diego, United States
Duration: Aug 10 2015Aug 13 2015

Publication series

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


OtherTechniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets VII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


  • Exoplanets
  • External Occulters
  • High Contrast Imaging
  • Laboratory Scaling
  • Starshade


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