Context. In the context of direct imaging of exoplanets, coronagraphs are commonly proposed to reach the required very high contrast levels. However, wavefront aberrations induce speckles in their focal plane and limit their performance.
Aims: An active correction of these wavefront aberrations using a deformable mirror upstream of the coronagraph is mandatory. These aberrations need to be calibrated and focal-plane wavefront-sensing techniques in the science channel are being developed. One of these is the self-coherent camera, of which we present the latest laboratory results.
Methods: We present here an enhancement of the method: we directly minimized the complex amplitude of the speckle field in the focal plane. Laboratory tests using a four-quadrant phase-mask coronagraph and a 32 × 32 actuator deformable mirror were conducted in monochromatic light and in polychromatic light for different bandwidths.
Results: We obtain contrast levels in the focal plane in monochromatic light better than 3 × 10-8 (RMS) in the 5-12 λ/D region for a correction of both phase and amplitude aberrations. In narrow bands (10 nm) the contrast level is 4 × 10-8 (RMS) in the same region.
Conclusions: The contrast level is currently limited by the amplitude aberrations on the bench. We identified several improvements that can be implemented to enhance the performance of our optical bench in monochromatic as well as in polychromatic light.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- April 2014
- instrumentation: high angular resolution;
- instrumentation: adaptive optics;
- Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics
- 4 pages, 3 figures, accepted in Astronomy &