Accelerated modeling of near and far-field diffraction for coronagraphic optical systems

Ewan S. Douglas, Marshall D. Perrin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

12 Scopus citations


Accurately predicting the performance of coronagraphs and tolerancing optical surfaces for high-contrast imaging requires a detailed accounting of diffraction effects. Unlike simple Fraunhofer diffraction modeling, near and farfield diffraction effects, such as the Talbot effect, are captured by plane-to-plane propagation using Fresnel and angular spectrum propagation. This approach requires a sequence of computationally intensive Fourier transforms and quadratic phase functions, which limit the design and aberration sensitivity parameter space which can be explored at high-fidelity in the course of coronagraph design. This study presents the results of optimizing the multi-surface propagation module of the open source Physical Optics Propagation in PYthon (POPPY) package. This optimization was performed by implementing and benchmarking Fourier transforms and array operations on graphics processing units, as well as optimizing multithreaded numerical calculations using the NumExpr python library where appropriate, to speed the end-to-end simulation of observatory and coronagraph optical systems. Using realistic systems, this study demonstrates a greater than five-fold decrease in wall-clock runtime over POPPY's previous implementation and describes opportunities for further improvements in diffraction modeling performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2018
Subtitle of host publicationOptical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave
EditorsGiovanni G. Fazio, Howard A. MacEwen, Makenzie Lystrup
ISBN (Print)9781510619494
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes
EventSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2018: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave - Austin, United States
Duration: Jun 10 2018Jun 15 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherSpace Telescopes and Instrumentation 2018: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Coronagraphs
  • Diffraction
  • Fresnel diffraction
  • Graphics processing units
  • High-contrast imaging
  • High-performance computing
  • Python

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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