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21 February 2003 Longitudinal dispersion control for the Keck interferometer nuller
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The control of longitudinal dispersion, which determines the position of the null fringe as a function of wavelength, is central to the problem of producing deep broadband interferometric nulls. The dispersion is the sum of terms due to environmental factors such as the dry-air and water-vapor atmospheric seeing, the unbalanced air column due to the unequal delay-line paths between the telescopes the combiner, and to the distance from the central fringe. The difference between an achromatic nuller and a normal constructive combiner operating at its first (chromatic) null can be thought of as an added longitudinal dispersion, which for the case of the Keck Interferometer is smaller than the environmental terms. We demonstrate that the sum of these effects can be adequately compensated by an appropriate thickness of ZnSe combined with an additional achromatic pathlength. The Keck Interferometer nulling combiners take advantage of this result. They are intrinsically constructive combiners made to produce achromatic nulls by inserting a ZnSe dispersion corrector into each of the four input beams. We describe the null fringe stabilization control algorithm and present calculations of the required loop bandwidth and precision. A potentially important advantage of the present approach is that the system will be able to function as either a destructive or constructive combiner, depending on the value of a single control-loop parameter (the target fringe phase).
© (2003) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Christopher D. Koresko, Bertrand P. Mennesson, Eugene Serabyn, Mark Colavita, Rachel L. Akeson, and Mark R. Swain "Longitudinal dispersion control for the Keck interferometer nuller", Proc. SPIE 4838, Interferometry for Optical Astronomy II, (21 February 2003);

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