Demonstration of broadband contrast at 1.2 λ / D and greater for the EXCEDE starlight suppression system

Dan Sirbu, Sandrine J. Thomas, Ruslan Belikov, Julien Lozi, Eduardo Bendek, Eugene Pluzhnik, Dana H. Lynch, Troy Hix, Peter Zell, Olivier Guyon, Glenn Schneider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The EXoplanetary Circumstellar Environments and Disk Explorer (EXCEDE) science mission concept uses a visible-wavelength phase-induced amplitude apodization (PIAA) coronagraph to enable high-contrast imaging of circumstellar debris systems and some giant planets at angular separations reaching into the habitable zones of some of the nearest stars. We report on the experimental results obtained in the vacuum chamber at the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center in 10% broadband light centered about 650 nm, with a median contrast of 1×10-5 between 1.2 and 2.0λ/D simultaneously with 3×10-7 contrast between 2 and 11λ/D for a single-sided dark hole using a deformable mirror (DM) upstream of the PIAA coronagraph. These results are stable and repeatable as demonstrated by three measurement runs with DM settings set from scratch and maintained on the best 90% out of the 1000 collected frames. We compare the reduced experimental data with simulation results from modeling observed experimental limits. The observed performance is consistent with uncorrected low-order modes not estimated by the low-order wavefront sensor. Modeled sensitivity to bandwidth and residual tip/tilt modes is well matched to the experiment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number025002
JournalJournal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Broadband
  • Circumstellar debris systems
  • Coronagraph
  • EXoplanetary Circumstellar Environments and Disk Explorer
  • Exoplanets
  • High-contrast imaging
  • Inner working angle
  • Phase-induced amplitude apodization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Instrumentation
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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