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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 17, Iss. 3 — Feb. 2, 2009
  • pp: 1902–1918

Optical Vectorial Vortex Coronagraphs using Liquid Crystal Polymers: theory, manufacturing and laboratory demonstration

D. Mawet, E. Serabyn, K. Liewer, Ch. Hanot, S. McEldowney, D. Shemo, and N. O’Brien  »View Author Affiliations


Optics Express, Vol. 17, Issue 3, pp. 1902-1918 (2009)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OE.17.001902


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Abstract

In this paper, after briefly reviewing the theory of vectorial vortices, we describe our technological approach to generating the necessary phase helix, and report results obtained with the first optical vectorial vortex coronagraph (OVVC) in the laboratory. To implement the geometrical phase ramp, we make use of Liquid Crystal Polymers (LCP), which we believe to be the most efficient technological path to quickly synthesize optical vectorial vortices of virtually any topological charge. With the first prototype device of topological charge 2, a maximum peak-to-peak attenuation of 1.4×10-2 and a residual light level of 3×10-5 at an angular separation of 3.5 λ/d (at which point our current noise floor is reached) have been obtained at a wavelength of 1.55 μm. These results demonstrate the validity of using space-variant birefringence distributions to generate a new family of coronagraphs usable in natural unpolarized light, opening a path to high performance coronagraphs that are achromatic and have low-sensitivity to low-order wavefront aberrations.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(230.0230) Optical devices : Optical devices
(230.3720) Optical devices : Liquid-crystal devices

History
Original Manuscript: October 10, 2008
Revised Manuscript: November 25, 2008
Manuscript Accepted: November 28, 2008
Published: January 30, 2009

Virtual Issues
Focus Issue: Astrophotonics (2009) Optics Express

Citation
D. Mawet, E. Serabyn, K. Liewer, Ch. Hanot, S. McEldowney, D. Shemo, and N. O'Brien, "Optical Vectorial Vortex Coronagraphs using Liquid Crystal Polymers: theory, manufacturing and laboratory demonstration," Opt. Express 17, 1902-1918 (2009)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/oe/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-17-3-1902


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