Wavefront error tolerancing for direct imaging of exo-Earths with a large segmented telescope in space

20 Sep 2019  ·  Laginja Iva, Leboulleux Lucie, Pueyo Laurent, Soummer Rémi, Sauvage Jean-François, Mugnier Laurent, Coyle Laura E., Knight J. Scott, Laurent Kathryn St., Por Emiel H., Noss James ·

Direct imaging of exo-Earths and search for life is one of the most exciting and challenging objectives for future space observatories. Segmented apertures in space will be required to reach the needed large diameters beyond the capabilities of current or planned launch vehicles... These apertures present additional challenges for high-contrast coronagraphy, not only in terms of static phasing but also in terms of their stability. The Pair-based Analytical model for Segmented Telescope Imaging from Space (PASTIS) was developed to model the effects of segment-level optical aberrations on the final image contrast. In this paper, we extend the original PASTIS propagation model from a purely analytical to a semi-analytical method, in which we substitute the use of analytical images with numerically simulated images. The inversion of this model yields a set of orthonormal modes that can be used to determine segment-level wavefront tolerances. We present results in the case of segment-level piston error applied to the baseline coronagraph design of LUVOIR A, with minimum and maximum wavefront error constraint between 56 pm and 290 pm per segment. The analysis is readily generalizable to other segment-level aberrations modes, and can also be expanded to establish stability tolerances for these missions. read more

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Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics