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The GLINT South testbed for nulling interferometry with photonics: Design and on-sky results at the Anglo-Australian Telescope

Lagadec, T. and Norris, B. and Gross, S. and Arriola, A. and Gretzinger, T. and Cvetojevic, N. and Martinod, M.-A. and Jovanovic, N. and Withford, M. and Tuthill, P. (2021) The GLINT South testbed for nulling interferometry with photonics: Design and on-sky results at the Anglo-Australian Telescope. Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, 38 . Art. No. e036. ISSN 1323-3580. doi:10.1017/pasa.2021.29. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20210929-180706392

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Abstract

In 1978, Bracewell suggested the technique of nulling interferometry to directly image exoplanets which would enable characterisation of their surfaces, atmospheres, weather, and possibly determine their capacity to host life. The contrast needed to discriminate starlight reflected by a terrestrial-type planet from the glare of its host star lies at or beyond a forbidding 10⁻¹⁰ for an exo-Earth in the habitable zone around a Sun-like star at near-infrared wavelengths, necessitating instrumentation with extremely precise control of the light. Guided Light Interferometric Nulling Technology (GLINT) is a testbed for new photonic devices conceived to overcome the challenges posed by nulling interferometry. At its heart, GLINT employs a single-mode nulling photonic chip fabricated by direct-write technology to coherently combine starlight from an arbitrarily large telescope at 1 550 nm. It operates in combination with an actuated segmented mirror in a closed-loop control system, to produce and sustain a deep null throughout observations. The GLINT South prototype interfaces the 3.9-m Anglo-Australian Telescope and was tested on a sample of bright Mira variable stars. Successful and continuous starlight injection into the photonic chip was achieved. A statistical model of the data was constructed, enabling a data reduction algorithm to retrieve contrast ratios of about 10⁻³. As a byproduct of this analysis, stellar angular diameters that were below the telescope diffraction limit ( ~ 100 mas) were recovered with 1σ accuracy and shown to be in agreement with literature values despite working in the seeing-limited regime. GLINT South serves as a demonstration of the capability of direct-write photonic technology for achieving coherent, stable nulling of starlight, which will encourage further technological developments towards the goal of directly imaging exoplanets with future large ground based and space telescopes.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
https://doi.org/10.1017/pasa.2021.29DOIArticle
ORCID:
AuthorORCID
Lagadec, T.0000-0001-8676-7007
Gretzinger, T.0000-0001-5712-5101
Cvetojevic, N.0000-0002-7465-4176
Martinod, M.-A.0000-0002-0989-9302
Jovanovic, N.0000-0001-5213-6207
Additional Information:© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Astronomical Society of Australia. Received 14 September 2020; revised 11 June 2021; accepted 22 June 2021. Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 August 2021. We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which this project took place: the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation and the Kamilaroi, the Wiradjuri, and the Weilwan people of the Warrumbungle. We recognise the violent dispossession they faced, and the continual violence the settler colony poses. This work was supported by the Australian Research Council Discovery Project DP180103413. It was performed in part at the OptoFab node of the Australian National Fabrication Facility utilising Commonwealth as well as NSW state government funding. S. Gross acknowledges funding through a Macquarie University Research Fellowship (9201300682) and the Australian Research Council Discovery Program (DE160100714). N. Cvetojevic acknowledges funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement CoG—683029).
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Australian Research CouncilDP180103413
Macquarie University9201300682
Australian Research CouncilDE160100714
European Research Council (ERC)683029
Subject Keywords:instrumentation – nulling interferometry – high contrast – high angular resolution – photonic technologies – exoplanets
DOI:10.1017/pasa.2021.29
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210929-180706392
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20210929-180706392
Official Citation:Lagadec, T., Norris, B., Gross, S., Arriola, A., Gretzinger, T., Cvetojevic, N., . . . Tuthill, P. (2021). The GLINT South testbed for nulling interferometry with photonics: Design and on-sky results at the Anglo-Australian Telescope. Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, 38, E036. doi:10.1017/pasa.2021.29
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:111097
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:29 Sep 2021 20:05
Last Modified:29 Sep 2021 20:05

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