OSA's Digital Library

Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 16, Iss. 7 — Mar. 31, 2008
  • pp: 4537–4546

Computing extinction maps of star nulling interferometers

François Hénault  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 16, Issue 7, pp. 4537-4546 (2008)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (689 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



Herein is discussed the performance of spaceborne nulling interferometers searching for extra-solar planets, in terms of their extinction maps projected on-sky. In particular, it is shown that the designs of Spatial Filtering (SF) and Achromatic Phase Shifter (APS) subsystems, both required to achieve planet detection and characterization, can sensibly affect the nulling maps produced by a simple Bracewell interferometer. Analytical relationships involving cross correlation products are provided and numerical simulations are performed, demonstrating marked differences in the aspect of extinction maps and the values of attained fringes contrasts. It is concluded that depending on their basic principles and designs, FS and APS will result in variable capacities for serendipitous discoveries of planets orbiting around their parent star. The mathematical relationships presented in this paper are assumed to be general, i.e. they should apply to other types of multi-apertures nulling interferometers.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(070.0070) Fourier optics and signal processing : Fourier optics and signal processing
(070.6110) Fourier optics and signal processing : Spatial filtering
(110.5100) Imaging systems : Phased-array imaging systems
(350.1260) Other areas of optics : Astronomical optics

ToC Category:
Fourier optics and signal processing

Original Manuscript: September 19, 2007
Revised Manuscript: December 11, 2007
Manuscript Accepted: December 24, 2007
Published: March 18, 2008

Francois Hénault, "Computing extinction maps of star nulling interferometers," Opt. Express 16, 4537-4546 (2008)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. M. Mayor and D. Queloz, "A Jupiter-Mass Companion to a Solar-Type Star," Nature 378, 355-359 (1995). [CrossRef]
  2. M. Gillon, F. Courbin, P. Magain and B. Borguet, "On the potential of extrasolar transit planet survey," Astron. Astrophys. 442, 731-744 (2005). [CrossRef]
  3. R. N. Bracewell and R. H. MacPhie "Searching for non solar planets," Icarus 38, 136-147 (1979). [CrossRef]
  4. A. Léger, et al., "Could we search for primitive life on extrasolar planets in the near future? The Darwin project," Icarus 123, 249-255 (1996). [CrossRef]
  5. J. R. P. Angel and N. J. Woolf, "An imaging nulling interferometer to study extrasolar planets," Astrophys. J. 475, 373-379 (1997). [CrossRef]
  6. O. Absil, R. den Hartog, P. Gondoin, P. Fabry, R. Wilhelm, P. Gitton and F. Puech, "Performance study of ground-based infrared Bracewell interferometers: Application to the detection of exozodiacal dust disks with GENIE," Astron. Astrophys. 448, 787-800 (2006). [CrossRef]
  7. J. M. Le Duigou, M. Ollivier, A. Léger, F. Cassaing, B. Sorrente, B. Fleury, G. Rousset, O. Absil, D. Mourard, Y. Rabbia, L. Escarrat, F. Malbet, D. Rouan, R. Clédassou, M. Delpech, P. Duchon, B. Meyssignac, P. Y. Guidotti and N. Gorius, "Pegase: a space-based nulling interferometer," Proc. SPIE 6265, 62651M (2006).
  8. M. Fridlund, "Darwin and TPF: technology and prospects," Proc. SPIE 5491, 227-235 (2004).
  9. TPF-I Science Working Group Report, JPL Publication 07-1, P.R. Lawson, O.P. Lay, K.J. Johnston and C.A. Beichman eds., Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California (2007).
  10. O. P. Lay, "Imaging properties of rotating nulling interferometers," Appl. Opt. 44, 5859-5871 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  11. B. F. Lane, M. W. Muterspaugh and M. Shao, "Calibrating an interferometric null," Astrophys. J. 648, 1276-1284 (2006). [CrossRef]
  12. M. Ollivier and J. M. Mariotti "Improvement in the rejection rate of a nulling interferometer by spatial filtering," Appl. Opt. 36, 5340-5346 (1997). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  13. S. Shaklan and F. Roddier, "Coupling starlight into single-mode fiber optics," Appl. Opt. 27, 2334-2338 (1988). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  14. C. Ruilier and F. Cassaing, "Coupling of large telescope and single-mode waveguides," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 18, 143-149 (2001). [CrossRef]
  15. Y. Rabbia, J. Gay, J.P. Rivet and J.L. Schneider, "Review of Concepts and Constraints for Achromatic Phase Shifters," in Proceedings of GENIE-DARWIN Workshop - Hunting for Planets, H. Lacoste ed., ESA SP-522 (European Space Agency, 2003), 7.1.
  16. F. Hénault, "Design of achromatic phase shifters for spaceborne nulling interferometry," Opt. Lett. 31, 3635-3637 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  17. V. Coudé Du Foresto, G. Perrin, C. Ruilier, B.P. Mennesson, W.A. Traub and M.G. Lacasse, "FLUOR fibered instrument at the IOTA interferometer," Proc. SPIE 3350, 856-863 (1998).
  18. B. Mennesson, M. Ollivier and C. Ruilier, "Use of single-mode waveguides to correct the optical defects of a nulling interferometer," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 19, 596-602 (2002). [CrossRef]

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited