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12 October 2004 Visible nulling interferometer
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The direct detection of Earthlike planets in the visible is a very challenging goal This paper describes a new concept for visible direct detection of Earths using a nulling interferometer instrument behind a 4m telescope in space. The basic concept is described along with the key advantages of the nulling interferometer over more traditional approaches, an apodized aperture telescope or coronagraph. In the baseline design, a 4 beam nuller produces a very deep theta^4 null. With perfect optics, the stellar leakage is less than 1e-11 of the starlight at the location of the planet. With diffraction limited (lambda/20) telescope optics suppression of the starlight to ~1e-10 would be possible.
© (2004) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Michael Shao, James K. Wallace, B. Martin Levine, and Duncan T. Liu "Visible nulling interferometer", Proc. SPIE 5487, Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Space Telescopes, (12 October 2004);

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