Exoplanet coronagraph shaped pupil masks and laboratory scale star shade masks: Design, fabrication and characterization

Kunjithapatham Balasubramanian, Victor White, Karl Yee, Pierre Echternach, Richard Muller, Matthew Dickie, Eric Cady, Camilo Mejia Prada, Daniel Ryan, Ilya Poberezhskiy, Hanying Zhou, Brian Kern, A. J. Riggs, Neil T. Zimmerman, Dan Sirbu, Stuart Shaklan, Jeremy Kasdin

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

4 Scopus citations


Star light suppression technologies to find and characterize faint exoplanets include internal coronagraph instruments as well as external star shade occulters. Currently, the NASA WFIRST-AFTA mission study includes an internal coronagraph instrument to find and characterize exoplanets. Various types of masks could be employed to suppress the host star light to about 10-9 level contrast over a broad spectrum to enable the coronagraph mission objectives. Such masks for high contrast internal coronagraphic imaging require various fabrication technologies to meet a wide range of specifications, including precise shapes, micron scale island features, ultra-low reflectivity regions, uniformity, wave front quality, achromaticity, etc. We present the approaches employed at JPL to produce pupil plane and image plane coronagraph masks by combining electron beam, deep reactive ion etching, and black silicon technologies with illustrative examples of each, highlighting milestone accomplishments from the High Contrast Imaging Testbed (HCIT) at JPL and from the High Contrast Imaging Lab (HCIL) at Princeton University. We also present briefly the technologies applied to fabricate laboratory scale star shade masks.

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


  • Coronagraph
  • Exoplanet
  • Shaped Pupil Masks
  • external occulter
  • star shade


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