Apodized Occulting and Pupil Masks for Imaging Coronagraphs

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNC07QA77P
Agency Tracking Number: 066077
Amount: $98,178.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2007
Solicitation Year: 2006
Solicitation Topic Code: S3.02
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
353 Christian Street, Oxford, CT, 06478-1053
DUNS: 949115208
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Jeanne Lazo-Wasem
 Principal Investigator
 (203) 267-3154
Business Contact
 Jeanne Lazo-Wasem
Title: President
Phone: (203) 267-3154
Email: jlazo-wasem@rugate.com
Research Institution
The technical challenge of imaging planets in other star systems is resolving these dim objects in the close vicinity of a bright star. This challenge requires the suppression of direct and scattered light from the star without attenuating or distorting the planet's image. We will develop and demonstrate high performance apodized occulting and pupil masks using a metal/metal oxide film blended to have an effective refractive index of 1.0. These masks provide for high optical density (OD) and high spatial thickness gradients with out introducing variations in phase or optical thickness. These films can be used for apodized occulting masks as well as pupil masks and baffles. An imaging coronagraph is an astronomical instrument used to study dim objects such as brown dwarfs or planets that are in the vicinity of very bright objects such a star. A critical component of the coronagraph is an apodized occulting mask. This mask is a high quality optical component which has a point of high optical density that can be used to block the light from the star without distorting or occulting the image of objects in close proximity to the star. The occulting spot must have sufficient optical density to reduce the intensity of the bright star to at least that of that of the dim object. the image, the optical density must be radially apodized from high OD at the center to very low OD with in 1 mm or so and in a controlled manner. Furthermore, the occulting spot should not induce a phase change or optical path difference for rays passing through different parts of the occulting spot. The proposed solution is to deposit films with a metal/metal oxide blend such that the effective index of the blended film is 1.0 and matches the refractive index of the entrance media. By matching the refractive index of the film and air/vacuum, the optical path of rays passing through the variable thickness of the film are the same length.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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