A multiwavelength differential imaging experiment for the high contrast imaging testbed

Beth Biller, John Trauger, Dwight Moody, Laird Close, Andreas Kuhnert, Karl Stapelfeldt, Wesley A. Traub, Brian Kern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We discuss the results of a multiwavelength differential imaging lab experiment with the High Contrast Imaging Testbed (HCIT) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The HCIT combines a Lyot coronagraph with a Xinetics deformable mirror in a vacuum environment to simulate a space telescope in order to test technologies and algorithms for a future exoplanet coronagraph mission. At present, ground-based telescopes have achieved significant attenuation of speckle noise using the technique of spectral differential imaging (SDI). We test whether ground-based SDI can be generalized to a nonsimultaneous spectral differential imaging technique (NSDI) for a space mission. In our lab experiment, a series of five filter images centered around the O2(A) absorption feature at 0.762 μm were acquired at nominal contrast values of 10-6, 10-7, 10-8, and 10-9. Outside the dark hole, single differences of images improve contrast by a factor of ∼6. Inside the dark hole, we found significant speckle chromatism as a function of wavelength offset from the nulling wavelength, leading to a contrast degradation by a factor of 7.2 across the entire ∼80 nm bandwidth. This effect likely stems from the chromatic behavior of the current occulter. New, less chromatic occulters are currently in development; we expect that these new occulters will resolve the speckle chromatism issue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)716-727
Number of pages12
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Issue number881
StatePublished - Jul 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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