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High-Dynamic-Range Imaging Using a Deformable Mirror for Space Coronography

F. Malbet, J. W. Yu and M. Shao
Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Vol. 107, No. 710 (1995 April), pp. 386-398
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40680547
Page Count: 13
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
High-Dynamic-Range Imaging Using a Deformable Mirror for Space Coronography
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Abstract

The need for high-dynamic-range imaging is crucial in many astronomical fields, such as extra-solar planet direct detection, extragalactic science, and circumstellar imaging. Using a high-quality coronograph, dynamic ranges of up to 10⁵ have been achieved. However the ultimate limitations of coronographs do not come from their optical performances, but from scattering due to imperfections in the optical surfaces of the collecting system. We propose the use of a deformable mirror to correct these imperfections and decrease the scattering level in local regions called "dark holes." Using this technique will enable imaging of fields with dynamic ranges exceeding 10ɸ. We show that the dark-hole algorithm results in a lower scattering level than simply minimizing the rms figure error (maximum-strehl-ratio algorithm). The achievable scattering level inside the dark-hole region will depend on the number of mirror actuators, the surface quality of the telescope, the single-actuator influence function, and the observing wavelength. We have simulated cases with a 37×37 deformable mirror using data from the Hubble Space Telescope optics without spherical aberrations and have demonstrated dark holes with rectangular and annular shapes. We also present a preliminary concept of a monolithic, fully integrated, high-density deformable mirror which can be used for this type of space application.

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