ExoPlanet Optics: Conceptual design processes for stealth telescopes

J. B. Breckinridge, J. E. Harvey, R. Irvin, R. Chipman, M. Kupinski, J. Davis, D. W. Kim, E. Douglas, C. F. Lillie, T. Hull

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

4 Scopus citations


In this paper we examine several contrast-degrading static signature sources present in current terrestrial exoplanet Lyot Coronagraph/Telescope optical systems. These are:-Unnecessary optical surfaces, which increase cost, absorption, scatter, wavefront control and alignment issues. A suggested solution is to make every effort to investigate innovative solutions to reduce the number of optical surfaces during the early design phase. Consider free-form optics.-Diffraction from secondary support systems and classical hexagon segmented apertures, which masks the low IWA terrestrial exoplanets. A suggested mitigation is to investigate curved secondary support systems and a pinwheel architecture for the deployable primary aperture.-Polarization Fresnel and form birefringence aberrations, which distort the system PSF, introduce absorption, scatter and wavefront control issues. Mitigation is to reduce all ray-angles of incidence to a minimum, investigate zero-loss polarization compensation wavefront technology, and investigate metal thin film deposition processes required to minimize form birefringence in large-area high-reflectivity coatings.-Small-angle specular or resolved angle scattered light, which places a narrow halo of incoherent light around the base of the PSF. There is no requirement on mirror smooth-surface scatter. Investigate the physical source of the small angle scatter and develop mirror polishing and thin film deposition processes to minimize scatter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationUV/Optical/IR Space Telescopes and Instruments
Subtitle of host publicationInnovative Technologies and Concepts IX
EditorsAllison A. Barto, James B. Breckinridge, H. Philip Stahl
ISBN (Electronic)9781510629233
StatePublished - 2019
EventUV/Optical/IR Space Telescopes and Instruments: Innovative Technologies and Concepts IX 2019 - San Diego, United States
Duration: Aug 11 2019Aug 12 2019

Publication series

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


ConferenceUV/Optical/IR Space Telescopes and Instruments: Innovative Technologies and Concepts IX 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego


  • Coronagraphs
  • Diffraction
  • HabEx
  • Mirror surface scatter
  • Optical design
  • Polarization
  • Space telescopes
  • Terrestrial exoplanet imaging

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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