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20 October 2004 Near-IR demonstration of adaptive nuller based on deformable mirror
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Deep, stable nulling of starlight requires careful control of the amplitudes and phases of the beams that are being combined. The detection of earth-like planets using the interferometer architectures currently being considered require that the electric field amplitudes are balanced at the level of ~ 0.1% and the phases are controlled at the level of 1 mrad (corresponding to ~ 1.5 nm for a wavelength of 10 microns). These conditions must be met simultaneously at all wavelengths across the science band and for both polarization states, imposing unrealistic tolerances on the symmetry between the optical beamtrains. Lay et. al. proposed the concept of a compensator that is inserted into the beamtrain, which can adaptively correct for the mismatches across the spectrum enabling deep nulls with realistic, imperfect optics. This proposed design uses a deformable mirror to adjust the amplitude and phase of the electric field that couples into the single-mode spatial filter. We have demonstrated amplitude and phase control at a single wavelength in the near-IR. We are preparing to demonstrate control with our deformable mirror actuator in the near-IR and in parallel are preparing a demonstration in the mid-IR where the compensator will be required to operate.
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Robert D. Peters, Akiko Hirai, Muthu Jeganathan, and Oliver P. Lay "Near-IR demonstration of adaptive nuller based on deformable mirror", Proc. SPIE 5491, New Frontiers in Stellar Interferometry, (20 October 2004);

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