Optimizing focal plane electric field estimation for detecting exoplanets

Tyler Groff, N. Jeremy Kasdin, A. J.Eldorado Riggs

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


Detecting extrasolar planets with angular separations and contrast levels similar to Earth requires a large space-based observatory and advanced starlight suppression techniques. This paper focuses on techniques employing an internal coronagraph, which is highly sensitive to optical errors and must rely on focal plane wavefront control techniques to achieve the necessary contrast levels. To maximize the available science time for a coronagraphic mission we demonstrate an estimation scheme using a discrete time Kalman filter. The state estimate feedback inherent to the filter allows us to minimize the number of exposures required to estimate the electric field. We also show progress including a bias estimate into the Kalman filter to eliminate incoherent light from the estimate. Since the exoplanets themselves are incoherent to the star, this has the added benefit of using the control history to gain certainty in the location of exoplanet candidates as the signal-to-noise between the planets and speckles improves. Having established a purely focal plane based wavefront estimation technique, we discuss a sensor fusion concept where alternate wavefront sensors feedforward a time update to the focal plane estimate to improve robustness to time varying speckle. The overall goal of this work is to reduce the time required for wavefront control on a target, thereby improving the observatory's planet detection performance by increasing the number of targets reachable during the lifespan of the mission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2013 IEEE Aerospace Conference, AERO 2013
StatePublished - 2013
Event2013 IEEE Aerospace Conference, AERO 2013 - Big Sky, MT, United States
Duration: Mar 2 2013Mar 9 2013

Publication series

NameIEEE Aerospace Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)1095-323X


Other2013 IEEE Aerospace Conference, AERO 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBig Sky, MT

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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