Optical verification of occulter-based high contrast imaging

Dan Sirbu, Eric J. Cady, N. Jeremy Kasdin, Robert J. Vanderbei, Jianxiao Lu, Emmeline Kao

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

5 Scopus citations


An external occulter precisely flown in formation with a space telescope has been recently studied as a mission scenario for direct imaging of exoplanets. 10-10 contrast must be attained to permit imaging of the faint reflected light of an Earth-like exoplanet. Here we report on experimental verification of a scaled occulter design that maintains a constant Fresnel number to an equivalent 400 mas space mission in monochromatic light at 632 nm using a diverging beam and an outer mask to suspend the occulter mask. We report contrast in regions of the discovery zone at 4.71 × 10-10 and suppression in the pupil plane of 3.7 × 10-7.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTechniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets V
StatePublished - 2011
EventTechniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets V - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 23 2011Aug 24 2011

Publication series

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


OtherTechniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets V
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


  • External Occulters
  • High Contrast Imaging
  • Laboratory Scaling
  • Linear Programming
  • Scalar Diffraction


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