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Dark fringe interferometry: Multi-beam configuration of the Alcatel nulling interferometer MAII and recent results

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 May 2006

Christophe Buisset
Affiliation:
O.C.A., Dpt GEMINI, UMR CNRS 6203, Av. Copernic, 06130 Grasse, FRANCE email: Christophe.Buisset@obs-azur.fr Alcatel Alenia Space, Cannes, FRANCE Present address: Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, Avenue Copernic, 06130 Grasse, FRANCE
Xavier Rejeaunier
Affiliation:
Alcatel Alenia Space, Cannes, FRANCE
Yves Rabbia
Affiliation:
O.C.A., Dpt GEMINI, UMR CNRS 6203, Av. Copernic, 06130 Grasse, FRANCE email: Christophe.Buisset@obs-azur.fr
Cyril Ruilier
Affiliation:
Alcatel Alenia Space, Cannes, FRANCE
Marc Barillot
Affiliation:
Alcatel Alenia Space, Cannes, FRANCE
Anders Karlsson
Affiliation:
ESA, Estec, Noordwijk, The NETHERLAND
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Abstract

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Direct detection and spectroscopic characterization of earth-like exoplanets require to eliminate the starlight in the recorded signal at a rejection level (collected flux / residual flux) around 10$^{6}$ in the thermal infrared domain. Another need is to reach angular resolution in the range 0.1 to 0.01 arcsec. In this context, nulling interferometry is recognized as the preferred instrumental approach. In the framework of the ESA-Darwin mission, preliminary studies for nulling systems have been initiated, the prime goal to achieve being mastering nulling process. In this purpose, Alcatel Space has developed a nulling test-bench, operating in near infrared (1.55 $\mu$m), not only to demonstrate capability of obtaining an appropriate rejection level but also to study and characterize the use of emerging techniques. The Darwin system will ultimately benefit from these results. In this paper, we report the most recent configuration of the Alcatel Space nulling breadboard which uses the multi-beam recombination technique, current baseline for Darwin. The results obtained with this version shows rejection performance at nearly 10$^{5}$ (stable level) with a polychromatic source ($\lambda$ = 1.55 $\mu$m, $\Delta\lambda$= 80 nm).

Type
Contributed Papers
Copyright
© 2006 International Astronomical Union