Phase-only optical elements can provide a number of important functions for high-contrast imaging. This thesis presents analytical and numerical optical design methods for accomplishing specific tasks, the most significant of which is the precise suppression of light from a distant point source. Instruments designed for this purpose are known as coronagraphs. Here, advanced coronagraph designs are presented that offer improved theoretical performance in comparison to the current state-of-the-art. Applications of these systems include the direct imaging and characterization of exoplanets and circumstellar disks with high sensitivity. Several new coronagraph designs are introduced and, in some cases, experimental support is provided.
In addition, two novel high-contrast imaging applications are discussed: the measurement of sub-resolution information using coronagraphic optics and the protection of sensors from laser damage. The former is based on experimental measurements of the sensitivity of a coronagraph to source displacement. The latter discussion presents the current state of ongoing theoretical work. Beyond the mentioned applications, the main outcome of this thesis is a generalized theory for the design of optical systems with one of more phase masks that provide precise control of radiation over a large dynamic range, which is relevant in various high-contrast imaging scenarios. The optimal phase masks depend on the necessary tasks, the maximum number of optics, and application specific performance measures. The challenges and future prospects of this work are discussed in detail.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Masks (Electronics); Coronagraphs; Imaging systems--Image quality
Imaging Science (Ph.D.)
Department, Program, or Center
Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (COS)
Ruane, Garreth J., "Optimal Phase Masks for High Contrast Imaging Applications" (2016). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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