Vector wavefront propagation modeling for the TPF coronagraph

Mike Lieber, Andy Neureuther, Dan Ceperley, Jeremy Kasdin, Nikolay Ter-Gabrielyan

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The TPF mission to search for exo-solar planets is extremely challenging both technically and from a performance modeling perspective. For the visible light coronagraph approach, the requirements for le10 rejection of star light to planet signal has not yet been achieved in laboratory testing and full-scale testing on the ground has many more obstacles and may not be possible. Therefore, end-to-end performance modeling will be relied upon to fully predict performance. One of the key technologies developed for achieving the rejection ratios uses shaped pupil masks to selectively cancel starlight in planet search regions by taking advantage of diffraction. Modeling results published to date have been based upon scalar wavefront propagation theory to compute the residual star and planet images. This ignores the 3D structure of the mask and the interaction of light with matter. In this paper we discuss previous work with a system model of the TPF coronagraph and propose an approach for coupling in a vector propagation model using the Finite Difference Time Domain (FDTD) method. This method, implemented in a software package called TEMPEST, allows us to propagate wavefronts through a mask structure to an integrated system model to explore the vector propagation aspects of the problem. We can then do rigorous mask scatter modeling to understand the effects of real physical mask structures on the magnitude, phase, polarization, and wavelength dependence of the transmitted light near edges. Shaped mask technology is reviewed, and computational aspects and interface issues to a TPF integrated system model are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1264-1273
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Issue numberPART 3
StatePublished - 2004
EventOptical, Infrared, and Millimeter Space Telecopes - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: Jun 21 2004Jun 25 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


  • FDTD
  • Integrated modeling
  • Shaped pupil masks
  • TPF
  • Vector propagation


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