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  1. The photonic lantern (PL) is a tapered waveguide that can efficiently couple light into multiple single-mode optical fibers. Such devices are currently being considered for a number of tasks, including the coupling of telescopes and high-resolution, fiber-fed spectrometers, coherent detection, nulling interferometry, and vortex-fiber nulling. In conjunction with these use cases, PLs can simultaneously perform low-order focal-plane wavefront sensing. In this work, we provide a mathematical framework for the analysis of a PL wavefront sensor (PLWFS), deriving linear and higher-order reconstruction models as well as metrics through which sensing performance—in both the linear and nonlinear regimes—can be quantified. This framework can be extended to account for additional optics such as beam-shaping optics and vortex masks, and can be generalized for other wavefront sensing architectures. Finally, we provide initial numerical verification of our mathematical models by simulating a six-port PLWFS. In a forthcoming companion paper (Lin and Fitzgerald), we provide a more comprehensive numerical characterization of few-port PLWFSs, and consider how the sensing properties of these devices can be controlled and optimized.

    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 14, 2023
  2. One of the top priorities in observational astronomy is the direct imaging and characterization of extrasolar planets (exoplanets) and planetary systems. Direct images of rocky exoplanets are of particular interest in the search for life beyond the Earth, but they tend to be rather challenging targets since they are orders-of-magnitude dimmer than their host stars and are separated by small angular distances that are comparable to the classicalλ<#comment/>/Ddiffraction limit, even for the coming generation of 30 m class telescopes. Current and planned efforts for ground-based direct imaging of exoplanets combine high-order adaptive optics (AO) with a stellar coronagraph observing at wavelengths ranging from the visible to the mid-IR. The primary barrier to achieving high contrast with current direct imaging methods is quasi-static speckles, caused largely by non-common path aberrations (NCPAs) in the coronagraph optical train. Recent work has demonstrated that millisecond imaging, which effectively “freezes” the atmosphere’s turbulent phase screens, should allow the wavefront sensor (WFS) telemetry to be used as a probe of the optical system to measure NCPAs. Starting with a realistic model of a telescope with an AO system and a stellar coronagraph, this paper provides simulations of several closely related regression models that take advantagemore »of millisecond telemetry from the WFS and coronagraph’s science camera. The simplest regression model, called the naïve estimator, does not treat the noise and other sources of information loss in the WFS. Despite its flaws, in one of the simulations presented herein, the naïve estimator provides a useful estimate of an NCPA of∼<#comment/>0.5radian RMS (≈<#comment/>λ<#comment/>/13), with an accuracy of∼<#comment/>0.06radian RMS in 1 min of simulated sky time on a magnitude 8 star. Thebias-corrected estimatorgeneralizes the regression model to account for the noise and information loss in the WFS. A simulation of the bias-corrected estimator with 4 min of sky time included an NCPA of∼<#comment/>0.05radian RMS (≈<#comment/>λ<#comment/>/130) and an extended exoplanet scene. The joint regression of the bias-corrected estimator simultaneously achieved an NCPA estimate with an accuracy of∼<#comment/>5×<#comment/>10−<#comment/>3radian RMS and an estimate of the exoplanet scene that was free of the self-subtraction artifacts typically associated with differential imaging. The5σ<#comment/>contrast achieved by imaging of the exoplanet scene was∼<#comment/>1.7×<#comment/>10−<#comment/>4at a distance of3λ<#comment/>/Dfrom the star and∼<#comment/>2.1×<#comment/>10−<#comment/>5at10λ<#comment/>/D. These contrast values are comparable to the very best on-sky results obtained from multi-wavelength observations that employ both angular differential imaging (ADI) and spectral differential imaging (SDI). This comparable performance is despite the fact that our simulations are quasi-monochromatic, which makes SDI impossible, nor do they have diurnal field rotation, which makes ADI impossible. The error covariance matrix of the joint regression shows substantial correlations in the exoplanet and NCPA estimation errors, indicating that exoplanet intensity and NCPA need to be estimated self-consistently to achieve high contrast.

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  3. Abstract

    We present the direct imaging discovery of a low-mass companion to the nearby accelerating F star, HIP 5319, using SCExAO coupled with the CHARIS, VAMPIRES, and MEC instruments in addition to Keck/NIRC2 imaging. CHARISJHK(1.1–2.4μm) spectroscopic data combined with VAMPIRES 750 nm, MECY, and NIRC2Lpphotometry is best matched by an M3–M7 object with an effective temperature ofT= 3200 K and surface gravity log(g) = 5.5. Using the relative astrometry for HIP 5319 B from CHARIS and NIRC2, and absolute astrometry for the primary from Gaia and Hipparcos, and adopting a log-normal prior assumption for the companion mass, we measure a dynamical mass for HIP 5319 B of3111+35MJ, a semimajor axis of18.64.1+10au, an inclination of69.415+5.6degrees, and an eccentricity of0.420.29+0.39. However, using an alternate prior for our dynamical model yields a much higher mass of12888+127MJ. Using data taken with the LCOGT NRES instrument we also show that the primary HIP 5319 A is a single star in contrast to previous characterizations of the system as a spectroscopic binary. This work underscores the importance of assumed priors in dynamical models for companions detected with imaging andmore »astrometry, and the need to have an updated inventory of system measurements.

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  4. The success of ground-based, high contrast imaging for the detection of exoplanets in part depends on the ability to differentiate between quasi-static speckles caused by aberrations not corrected by adaptive optics (AO) systems, known as non-common path aberrations (NCPAs), and the planet intensity signal. Frazin (ApJ, 2013) introduced a post-processing algorithm demonstrating that simultaneous millisecond exposures in the science camera and wavefront sensor (WFS) can be used with a statistical inference procedure to determine both the series expanded NCPA coefficients and the planetary signal. We demonstrate, via simulation, that using this algorithm in a closed-loop AO system, real-time estimation and correction of the quasi-static NCPA is possible without separate deformable mirror (DM) probes. Thus the use of this technique allows for the removal of the quasi-static speckles that can be mistaken for planetary signals without the need for new optical hardware, improving the efficiency of ground-based exoplanet detection. In our simulations, we explore the behavior of the Frazin Algorithm (FA) and the dependence of its convergence to an accurate estimate on factors such as Strehl ratio, NCPA strength, and number of algorithm search basis functions. We then apply this knowledge to simulate running the algorithm in real-time in a nearlymore »ideal setting. We then discuss adaptations that can be made to the algorithm to improve its real-time performance, and show their efficacy in simulation. A final simulation tests the technique’s resilience against imperfect knowledge of the AO residual phase, motivating an analysis of the feasibility of using this technique in a real closed-loop Extreme AO system such as SCExAO or MagAO-X, in terms of computational complexity and the accuracy of the estimated quasi-static NCPA correction.« less
  5. We are building a next-generation laser adaptive optics system, Robo-AO-2, for the UH 2.2-m telescope that will deliver robotic, diffraction-limited observations at visible and near-infrared wavelengths in unprecedented numbers. The superior Maunakea observing site, expanded spectral range and rapid response to high-priority events represent a significant advance over the prototype. Robo-AO-2 will include a new reconfigurable natural guide star sensor for exquisite wavefront correction on bright targets and the demonstration of potentially transformative hybrid AO techniques that promise to extend the faintness limit on current and future exoplanet adaptive optics systems.