Abstract

The Ground-Based European Nulling Interferometry Experiment (GENIE) is intended as an Earth-based precursor for the European Darwin mission that will prepare the Darwin science program and demonstrate the required technology at system level. We propose a compact nulling interferometer design consisting of a two-telescope aperture configuration, an optional split-pupil add-on, and only four active control loops for counteracting environmentally induced disturbances. We show by simulation that the proposed instrument is able to detect, within a few minutes of observation time, exo-zodiacal dust clouds around Sunlike stars at 20 parsecs that are 20 times stronger than the local zodiacal dust cloud density.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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