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Published October 2020 | Accepted Version + Published
Journal Article Open

Microelectromechanical deformable mirror development for high-contrast imaging, part 2: the impact of quantization errors on coronagraph image contrast


Stellar coronagraphs rely on deformable mirrors (DMs) to correct wavefront errors and create high-contrast images. Imperfect control of the DM limits the achievable contrast, and therefore, the DM control electronics must provide fine surface height resolution and low noise. We study the impact of quantization errors due to the DM electronics on the image contrast using experimental data from the High Contrast Imaging Testbed facility at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. We find that the simplest analytical model gives optimistic predictions compared to real cases, with contrast up to 3 times better, which leads to DM surface height resolution requirements that are incorrectly relaxed by 70%. We show that taking into account the DM actuator shape, or influence function, improves the analytical predictions. However, we also find that end-to-end numerical simulations of the wavefront sensing and control process provide the most accurate predictions and recommend such an approach for setting robust requirements on the DM control electronics. From our experimental and numerical results, we conclude that a surface height resolution of ∼6  pm is required for imaging temperate terrestrial exoplanets around solar-type stars at wavelengths as small as 450 nm with coronagraph instruments on future space telescopes. Finally, we list the recognizable characteristics of quantization errors that may help determine if they are a limiting factor.

Additional Information

© 2020 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Paper 20027 received Mar. 13, 2020; accepted for publication Aug. 6, 2020; published online Oct. 7, 2020. This work was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

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Published - 045002_1.pdf

Accepted Version - 2010.03704.pdf


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August 22, 2023
August 22, 2023