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Interferometric nulling of four channels with integrated optics

: Errmann, Ronny; Minardi, Stefano; Labadie, Lucas; Muthusubramanian, Balaji; Dreisow, Felix; Nolte, Stefan; Pertsch, Thomas


Applied optics 54 (2015), No.24, pp.7449-7454
ISSN: 0003-6935
ISSN: 1539-4522
ISSN: 1559-128X
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IOF ()

Nulling interferometry has been identified as a competitive technique for the detection of extrasolar planets. In its basic form, the technique consists of combining out-of-phase a single pair of telescopes to effectively null the light of a bright star and reveal the dim glow of the companion. However, in order to mitigate the effect of the stellar leaks through the interferometer, a broad angular central null is required. The hierarchical combination of several pairs of telescopes can accomplish this task. We have manufactured and tested with monochromatic light an integrated optics component, which combines a linear array of four telescopes in the nulling mode envisaged by Angel and Woolf [Astroph. J. 475, 373 -379 (1997).]. By simulating in the laboratory the motion of a star in the sky, we could measure the expected angular transmission of the four-telescope nuller. Moreover, the tests have demonstrated a broad nulling scaling as the fourth power of the baseline delay.