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15 September 2011 Micropixel-level image position sensing testbed
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The search for Earth-mass planets in the habitable zones of nearby Sun-like stars is an important goal of astrophysics. This search is not feasible with the current slate of astronomical instruments. We propose a new concept for microarcsecond astrometry which uses a simplified instrument and hence promises to be low cost. The concept employs a telescope with only a primary, laser metrology applied to the focal plane array, and new algorithms for measuring image position and displacement on the focal plane. The required level of accuracy in both the metrology and image position sensing is at a few micro-pixels. We have begun a detailed investigation of the feasibility of our approach using simulations and a micro-pixel image position sensing testbed called MCT. So far we have been able to demonstrate that the pixel-to-pixel distances in a focal plane can be measured with a precision of 20 micro-pixels and image-to-image distances with a precision of 30 micro-pixels. We have also shown using simulations that our image position algorithm can achieve accuracy of 4 micro-pixels in the presence of λ/20 wavefront errors.
© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Bijan Nemati, Michael Shao, Chengxing Zhai, Hernan Erlig, Renaud Goullioud, and Xu Wang "Micropixel-level image position sensing testbed", Proc. SPIE 8151, Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets V, 81510W (15 September 2011);

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