Coronagraphic low-order wavefront sensor: Postprocessing sensitivity enhancer for high-performance coronagraphs

Frédéric P.A. Vogt, Frantz Martinache, Olivier Guyon, Takashi Yoshikawa, Kaito Yokochi, Vincent Garrel, Taro Matsuo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Detection and characterization of exoplanets by direct imaging requires a coronagraph designed to deliver high-contrast at small angular separation. To achieve this, an accurate control of low-order aberrations, such as pointing and focus errors, is essential to optimize coronagraphic rejection and avoid the possible confusion between exoplanet light and coronagraphic leaks in the science image. Simulations and laboratory prototyping have shown that a coronagraphic low-order wavefront sensor (CLOWFS), using a single defocused image of a reflective focal-plane ring, can be used to control tip-tilt to an accuracy of 10 _3 λ=D. This article demonstrates that the data acquired by CLOWFS can also be used in postprocessing to calibrate residual coronagraphic leaks from the science image. Using both the CLOWFS camera and the science camera in the system, we quantify the accuracy of the method and its ability to successfully remove light due to low-order errors from the science image. We also report the implementation and performance of the CLOWFS on the Subaru Coronagraphic Extreme-AO (SCExAO) system and its expected on-sky performance. In the laboratory, with a level of disturbance similar to that encountered in a post-AO beam, CLOWFS postprocessing has achieved speckle calibration to 1=300 of the raw speckle level. This is about 40 times better than could be done with an idealized PSF subtraction that does not rely on CLOWFS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1434-1441
Number of pages8
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Issue number910
StatePublished - Dec 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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