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Title: High contrast limitations of slicer based integral field spectrographs
Author: Salter, Graeme S.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2716 4638
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2010
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The viability of using a slicer based integral field spectrograph (IFS) for high contrast observations has been under scrutiny due to the belief that the one dimensional coherence that persists along the slice to the point of sampling at the detector will cause the creation of secondary speckles that will not have the same characteristics as normal speckles, thus stopping us from calibrating them out. It has also been previously assumed that a suitably low differential wavefront error when moving slice to slice was not guaranteed by design. It was for these reasons that slicer based IFSs were not selected for the current generation of planet finding instruments. As part of the EPICS (Exo Planet Imaging Camera and Spectrograph for the E-ELT) design study it was decided that slicers should be re-investigated due to results from on sky observations suggesting these limitations did not exist. The purpose of this thesis was to determine whether there was validity to the concerns mentioned above and therefore to answer the question; Would implementing a slicer based integral field spectrograph limit the achievable contrast of an instrument designed for the direct detection of exoplanets? Chapter 1 gives a brief introduction into the field of exoplanet research. Charpter 2 describes the noise limiting direct detection of exoplanets and the ways to get around it. Chapter 3 gives an overview of the two types of IFS under investigation by the EPICS consortium. Chapter 4 looks into details of the EPICS instrument and the IFS design study that came about. Chapter 5 shows simulations performed for the aim of achieving better contrasts via post processing methods and accurate data reduction as well as simulations of slicer based integral field spectrographs. Experimental tests using a slicer and a preoptics setup designed to simulate the limiting noise are described in Chapter 6. Chapter 7 looks at using SINFONI for high contrast observations and Chapter 8 details the conclusions drawn from the work presented in this thesis, as well as possible extensions to it. The work performed in this thesis dispels the concerns about the continued one dimensional coherence up to the detecter and suggests that slicer based integral field spectrographs do not inherently limit the contrast achievable; Results from experiments fit well with the requirements for EPICS to achieve its goals. Simulations also supported the idea that secondary speckle noise should not be an issue for the slicer based IFS. This means that a slicer based IFS is a viable option for the EPICS instrument.
Supervisor: Thatte, Niranjan A. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Physical Sciences ; Physics ; Astrophysics ; Direct Detection ; Exoplanet ; High Contrast ; Integral Field Spectrograph ; Slicer IFS ; Speckle Noise ; Spectral Deconvolution