Characterisation of exoplanets is key to understanding their formation, composition and potential for life. Nulling interferometry, combined with extreme adaptive optics, is among the most promising techniques to advance this goal. We present an integrated-optic nuller whose design is directly scalable to future science-ready interferometric nullers: the Guided-Light Interferometric Nulling Technology, deployed at the Subaru Telescope. It combines four beams and delivers spatial and spectral information. We demonstrate the capability of the instrument, achieving a null depth better than 10−3 with a precision of 10−4 for all baselines, in laboratory conditions with simulated seeing applied. On sky, the instrument delivered angular diameter measurements of stars that were 2.5 times smaller than the diffraction limit of the telescope. These successes pave the way for future design enhancements: scaling to more baselines, improved photonic component and handling low-order atmospheric aberration within the instrument, all of which will contribute to enhance sensitivity and precision.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Chemistry
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Physics and Astronomy