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ALADDIN: an optimized ground-based precursor for DARWIN

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 May 2006

Vincent Coudé du Foresto
LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, 92190 Meudon, France email:
Olivier Absil
Institut d'Astrophysique et de Géophysique, Université de Liège, 4000 Sart-Tilman, Belgium email:
Marc Barillot
Alcatel Alenia Space, 06150 Cannes, France email:
Mark Swain
Max-Planck Institut fur Astronomie, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany email:
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The ALADDIN concept is an integrated Antarctic-based L-band experiment whose purpose is to demonstrate nulling interferometry and to prepare the DARWIN mission. Because of their privileged location, the relatively modest collectors (1 m) and baseline (up to 40 m) are sufficient to achieve a sensitivity (in terms of detectable zodi levels) which is about twice better than that of a nulling instrument on a large interferometer (such as GENIE at the VLTI), and to reach the 20-zodi threshold value identified to carry out the DARWIN precursor science. These numbers are based on a preliminary design study by Alcatel Alenia Space and were obtained using the same simulation software as the one employed for GENIE. The integrated design enables top-level optimization and full access to the light collectors for the duration of the experiment, while reducing the complexity of the nulling breadboard.

Contributed Papers
© 2006 International Astronomical Union