Methods and limitations of focal plane sensing, estimation, and control in high-contrast imaging

Tyler D. Groff, A. J. Eldorado Riggs, Brian Kern, N. Jeremy Kasdin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Coronagraphy is a very promising method for directly imaging exoplanets, but the performance of a coronagraph is highly sensitive to quasi-static aberrations within the telescope. The resultant speckles are suppressed in the final focal plane using a wavefront control system that estimates the field at the final focal plane to avoid any noncommon path error. This requires a set of probe images that modulate the field so that it may be estimated. With an estimate of the focal plane electric field, a control law is defined to suppress the speckle field so that the planet can be imaged. Characterizing the planet requires that the speckle field be suppressed simultaneously over the bandpass of interest. The choice of control law, bandpass, estimator, and probing methodology has implications in the control solutions and contrast performance. Here, we compare wavefront probing, estimation, and control algorithms, and describe their practical implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number011009
JournalJournal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Instrumentation
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Fourier optics
  • aberrations
  • signal detection
  • wavefront compensation
  • wavefront sensors
  • wavefronts


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