John Krist/Jet Propulsion Laboratory

This proposal will assess the performance limits of the most currently favorable internal coronagraphs (hybrid bandlimited Lyot, vector vortex, PIAA) with end-to-end modeling utilizing the same simulation framework and telescope system. The framework will utilize the freely available PROPER software for simulating a telescope with realistic errors on each optical surface and dual deformable mirrors for wavefront control. Modeling procedures for each coronagraph will be developed and added to the PROPER public distribution for free use by the community. Wavefront sensing and control techniques will be used to create simulated high contrast fields for imaging extrasolar planets. The ability of each coronagraph to reach the required contrast limits in the presence of wavefront aberrations and with wavefront control will be evaluated. Because all of the coronagraphs will be investigated using the same software, a "level playing field" comparison of the different techniques can be made. This will provide guidance for planning future studies and will demonstrate which methods are ready for flight and which required additional development.

Technology Development for Exoplanet Missions
Solicitation NNH09ZDA001N-TDEM