Abstract

High-contrast imaging, particularly the direct detection of extrasolar planets, is a major science driver for the next generation of telescopes. This science requires the suppression of scattered starlight at extremely high levels and that telescopes be correctly designed today to meet these stringent requirements in the future. The challenge increases in systems with complicated aperture geometries such as obscured, segmented telescopes. Such systems can also require intensive modeling and simulation efforts in order to understand the trade-offs between different optical parameters. The feasibility and development of a contrast prediction tool for use in the design and systems engineering of these telescopes is described. The performance of a particular starlight suppression system on a large segmented telescope is described analytically. These analytical results and the results of a contrast predictor are then compared with the results of a full wave-optics simulation.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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