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Opt Lett. 2006 Mar 1;31(5):565-7.

Effect of wavefront error on 10(-7) contrast measurements.

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Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 7000 East Avenue, Livermore, California 94550, USA.


Received October 11, 2005; accepted November 10, 2005; posted December 2, 2005 (Doc. ID 65234) We have measured a contrast of 6.5 x 10(-8) from 10 to 25 lambda/D in visible light on the Extreme Adaptive Optics testbed, using a shaped pupil for diffraction suppression. The testbed was designed with a minimal number of high-quality optics to ensure low wavefront error and uses a phase-shifting diffraction interferometer for metrology. This level of contrast is within the regime needed for imaging young Jupiter-like planets, a primary application of high-contrast imaging. We have concluded that wavefront error, not pupil quality, is the limiting error source for improved contrast in our system.

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