Context. High contrast imaging and spectroscopy provide unique constraints for exoplanet formation models as well as for planetary atmosphere models. But this can be challenging because of the planet-to-star small angular separation (<1 arcsec) and high flux ratio (>105). Recently, optimized instruments like VLT/SPHERE and Gemini/GPI were installed on 8m-class telescopes. These will probe young gazeous exoplanets at large separations (≳1 au) but, because of uncalibrated phase and amplitude aberrations that induce speckles in the coronagraphic images, they are not able to detect older and fainter planets.
Aims: There are always aberrations that are slowly evolving in time. They create quasi-static speckles that cannot be calibrated a posteriori with sufficient accuracy. An active correction of these speckles is thus needed to reach very high contrast levels (>106-107). This requires a focal plane wavefront sensor. Our team proposed a self coherent camera, the performance of which was demonstrated in the laboratory. As for all focal plane wavefront sensors, these are sensitive to chromatism and we propose an upgrade that mitigates the chromatism effects.
Methods: First, we recall the principle of the self-coherent camera and we explain its limitations in polychromatic light. Then, we present and numerically study two upgrades to mitigate chromatism effects: the optical path difference method and the multireference self-coherent camera. Finally, we present laboratory tests of the latter solution.
Results: We demonstrate in the laboratory that the multireference self-coherent camera can be used as a focal plane wavefront sensor in polychromatic light using an 80 nm bandwidth at 640 nm (bandwidth of 12.5%). We reach a performance that is close to the chromatic limitations of our bench: 1σ contrast of 4.5 × 10-8 between 5 and 17 λ0/D.
Conclusions: The performance of the MRSCC is promising for future high-contrast imaging instruments that aim to actively minimize the speckle intensity so as to detect and spectrally characterize faint old or light gaseous planets.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- April 2016
- techniques: high angular resolution;
- instrumentation: high angular resolution;
- instrumentation: adaptive optics;
- Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics
- 14 pages, 20 figures