Recent advances in pointing and tracking capabilities of small satellite platforms have enabled adoption of capabilities such as high-resolution Earth Observation (EO), inter-satellite laser communications and, more recently, quantum communications. Quantum communications requires unusually narrow optical beams and tight pointing performance (on the order of ten microradians) to close an inherently brightness-limited quantum link. This limit is due to quantum communication protocols such as quantum key distribution and teleportation requiring individual quantum states to be transmitted with photon number restrictions. We examine an opportunity to combine quantum communications with laser communications in sharing an optical link. We discuss a combined quantum and laser communication terminal capable of performing space-to-ground entanglement-distribution and high data rate communications on a 12U CubeSat with a 95mm beam expander and an 60 cm aperture optical ground telescope. Photon pairs produced by the quantum terminal are entangled in polarization so the polarization must be maintained throughout the optical link. We discuss active and passive compensation methods in space and polarization reference frame correction using a polarized reference beacon at the ground station. The combined quantum and laser communication terminal approach enables secure communications over an optical channel with rates of 100 Mbps and sub-nanosecond time transfer.
The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope Coronagraph Instrument (CGI) will be capable of characterizing exoplanets in reflected light and will demonstrate space technologies essential for future missions to take spectra of Earthlike exoplanets. As the mission and instrument move into the final stages of design, simulation tools spanning from depth of search calculators to detailed diffraction models have been created by a variety of teams. We summarize these efforts, with a particular focus on publicly available datasets and software tools. These include speckle and point-spread-function models, signal-to-noise calculators, and science product simulations (e.g. predicted observations of debris disks and exoplanet spectra). This review is intended to serve as a reference to facilitate engagement with the technical and science capabilities of the CGI instrument.
The Coronagraphic Debris Exoplanet Exploring Payload (CDEEP) is a Small-Sat mission concept for high contrast imaging of circumstellar disks. CDEEP is designed to observe disks in scattered light at visible wavelengths at a raw contrast level of 10-7 per resolution element (10-8 with post processing). This exceptional sensitivity will allow the imaging of transport dominated debris disks, quantifying the albedo, composition, and morphology of these low-surface brightness disks. CDEEP combines an off-axis telescope, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) deformable mirror, and a vector vortex coronagraph (VVC). This system will require rigorous testing and characterization in a space environment. We report on the CDEEP mission concept, and the status of the vacuum-compatible CDEEP prototype testbed currently under development at the University of Arizona, including design development and the results of simulations to estimate performance.
In the pursuit of directly imaging exoplanets, the high-contrast imaging community has developed a multitude of tools to simulate the performance of coronagraphs on segmented-aperture telescopes. As the scale of the telescope increases and science cases move toward shorter wavelengths, the required physical optics propagation to optimize high-contrast imaging instruments becomes computationally prohibitive. Gaussian Beamlet Decom- position (GBD) is an alternative method of physical optics propagation that decomposes an arbitrary wavefront into paraxial rays. These rays can be propagated expeditiously using ABCD matrices, and converted into their corresponding Gaussian beamlets to accurately model physical optics phenomena without the need of diffraction integrals. The GBD technique has seen recent development and implementation in commercial software (e.g. FRED, CODE V, ASAP)1-3 but appears to lack an open-source platform. We present a new GBD tool developed in Python to model physical optics phenomena, with the goal of alleviating the computational burden for modeling complex apertures, many-element systems, and introducing the capacity to model misalignment errors. This study demonstrates the synergy of the geometrical and physical regimes of optics utilized by the GBD technique, and is motivated by the need for advancing open-source physical optics propagators for segmented- aperture telescope coronagraph design and analysis. This work illustrates GBD with Poisson's spot calculations and show significant runtime advantage of GBD over Fresnel propagators for many-element systems.
Future large aperture telescopes and high contrast imaging systems will often include segment gaps, structural obscurations, along with outer edges which produce diffraction effects that are disadvantageous to high contrast imaging (e.g., for exoplanet detection) or continuous wavefront control across the optical aperture. We present an optimization strategy for several pupil segment topologies for next-generation telescope concepts. Wave propagation results based on diffraction-limited point spread function analyses using Fraunhofer diffraction theory are presented using the Python-based POPPY simulation tool.
The design study herein analyzes the design complexity of high zoom ratio lens systems in the visible, SWIR, and LWIR spectrums with four zoom groups (two internally moving). The aforementioned 12.5x zoom lens systems have been designed for use in the Coast Guard for maritime safety, security, and stewardship. To begin our comparative design study, the most advantageous solutions for distinct power groupings were found using a first order solution finder tool. The results showed that solutions with a PNNP, PNPP, and NPNP power grouping with the aperture stop in the third or fourth group had the most potential. At the end of the design process, a comparison was done for the three different wavebands to analyze the relative design complexity. Design complexity metrics were as follows: element count, number of aspheric surfaces, system total track length, element diameter, and tolerance sensitivity.