Shaped pupil Lyot coronagraphs: High-contrast solutions for restricted focal planes

Neil T. Zimmerman, A. J. Eldorado Riggs, N. Jeremy Kasdin, Alexis Carlotti, Robert J. Vanderbei

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

Coronagraphs of the apodized pupil and shaped pupil varieties use the Fraunhofer diffraction properties of amplitude masks to create regions of high contrast in the vicinity of a target star. Here we present a hybrid coronagraph architecture in which a binary, hard-edged shaped pupil mask replaces the gray, smooth apodizer of the apodized pupil Lyot coronagraph (APLC). For any contrast and bandwidth goal in this configuration, as long as the prescribed region of contrast is restricted to a finite area in the image, a shaped pupil is the apodizer with the highest transmission. We relate the starlight cancellation mechanism to that of the conventional APLC. We introduce a new class of solutions in which the amplitude profile of the Lyot stop, instead of being fixed as a padded replica of the telescope aperture, is jointly optimized with the apodizer. Finally, we describe shaped pupil Lyot coronagraph (SPLC) designs for the baseline architecture of the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope - Astrophysics Focused Telescope Assets (WFIRST-AFTA) coronagraph. These SPLCs help to enable two scientific objectives of the WFIRST-AFTA mission: (1) broadband spectroscopy to characterize exoplanet atmospheres in reflected starlight and (2) debris disk imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number011012
JournalJournal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
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

Keywords

  • coronagraph
  • exoplanets
  • high-contrast imaging
  • space telescope

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