WFIRST-AFTA coronagraph shaped pupil masks: Design, fabrication, and characterization

Kunjithapatham Balasubramanian, Victor White, Karl Yee, Pierre Echternach, Richard Muller, Matthew Dickie, Eric Cady, Camilo Mejia Prada, Daniel Ryan, Ilya Poberezhskiy, Brian Kern, Hanying Zhou, John Krist, Bijan Nemati, A. J. Eldorado Riggs, Neil T. Zimmerman, N. Jeremy Kasdin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


NASA WFIRST-AFTA mission study includes a coronagraph instrument to find and characterize exoplanets. Various types of masks could be employed to suppress the host starlight to about 10-9 level contrast over a broad spectrum to enable the coronagraph mission objectives. Such masks for high-contrast internal coronagraphic imaging require various fabrication technologies to meet a wide range of specifications, including precise shapes, micron scale island features, ultralow reflectivity regions, uniformity, wave front quality, and achromaticity. We present the approaches employed at JPL to produce pupil plane and image plane coronagraph masks by combining electron beam, deep reactive ion etching, and black silicon technologies with illustrative examples of each, highlighting milestone accomplishments from the High Contrast Imaging Testbed at JPL and from the High Contrast Imaging Lab at Princeton University.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number011005
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


  • black silicon
  • coronagraph
  • exoplanet
  • shaped pupil masks


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