It's just a phase: High-contrast imaging with patterned liquid-crystal phase plates to facilitate characterization of exoplanets
This thesis aims to demonstrate how the achromatic nature and design flexibility of liquid-crystal optics can be used to improve high-contrast imaging instruments to facilitate detailed exoplanet characterization.
- Doelman, D.S.
- 22 June 2021
- Thesis in Leiden Repository
This thesis aims to demonstrate how the achromatic nature and design flexibility of liquid-crystal optics can be used to improve high-contrast imaging instruments to facilitate detailed exoplanet characterization.Chapter 2 discusses the design, performance, and future development of the liquid-crystal vector-apodizing phase plate (vAPP) coronagraph, five of which have been installed in different instruments on current generation telescopes since 2016. In chapter 3 we use the achromatic nature of the vAPP in combination with the LBT/ALES integral field spectrograph to obtain the first ever thermal infrared spectrum of the inner three HR 8799 planets. In Chapter 4 and 8 we show that by combining multiple grating patterns to reduce the influence of polarization leakage, we can improve the performance of liquid-crystal coronagraphs. In Chapter 5 and 6 we enhance sparse aperture masking, capable of detecting companions beyond the diffraction limit, by using liquid-crystal phase masks to enable low-resolution spectroscopy and improve throughput. In Chapter 7 we demonstrate that a liquid-crystal Zernike wavefront sensor can accurately and efficiently measure phase and amplitude aberrations simultaneously, facilitating extreme contrasts. Together, the concepts presented in this thesis can be used to improve high-contrast imaging instruments of both ground-based and space-based observatories.