Coronagraph project with the SPICA mission

K. Enyat, L. Abe, S. Tanaka, K. Haze, M. Venet, T. Nakagawa, H. Kataza, M. Tamura, J. Nishikawa, N. Murakami, K. Fujita, Y. Itoh, O. Guyon, E. A. Pluzhnik, T. Wakayama, T. Sato, N. Nakagiri

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


We present the status of the development of a coronagraph for the Space Infrared telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA). SPICA is the next generation of infrared space-borne telescope missions following to AKARI, led by Japan. SPICA will carry a telescope that has a 3.5 m diameter monolithic primary mirror and the whole telescope will be cooled to 4.5 K. It is planned to launch SPICA into the sun-earth L2 libration halo orbit using H II-A rocket in the middle of the 2010s and execute infrared observations at wavelengths mainly between 5 and 200 micron. The SPICA mission gives us a unique opportunity for coronagraph observations, because of the large telescope aperture, the simple pupil shape, the capability of infrared observations from space, and the early launch. We have started development of the SPICA coronagraph in which the primary target is direct observation of extra-solar Jovian planets. The main wavelengths of observation, the required contrast and the inner working angle (IWA) of the SPICA coronagraph instrument are set to be 5-27 micron, 10 -6, and a few λ/D (and as small as possible), respectively, in which λ is the observation wavelength and D is the diameter of the telescope aperture (3.5m). We focused on a coronagraph with a binary shaped pupil mask as the primary candidate for SPICA because of its feasibility. Nano-fabrication technology using electron beam lithography was applied to manufacture a high precision mask and a laboratory experiment with a He-Ne laser (λ=632.8nm) was performed in air without active wavefront control. The raw contrast derived from the average measured in the dark region reached 6.7×10-8. On the other hand, a study of Phase Induced Amplitude Apodization (PIAA) was started in an attempt to achieve higher performance, i.e., smaller IWA and higher throughput. A hybrid solution using PIAA and a shaped pupil mask was proposed. A laboratory experiment was performed using a He-Ne laser with active wavefront control via a 32 × 32 channel deformable mirror. A raw contrast of 6.5 × 10-7 was achieved. Designs of binary shaped pupil mask are presented for the actual SPICA pupil which is obstructed by the telescope's secondary mirror and its support. Subtraction of point spread function (PSF) was also evaluated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number66930I
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2007
EventTechniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets III - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 28 2007Aug 30 2007


  • Coronagraph
  • Exo-planet
  • Infrared

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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