Thursday, May 23, 2013

1305.5142 (A. Vigan et al.)

Apodization in high-contrast long-slit spectroscopy    [PDF]

A. Vigan, M. N'Diaye, K. Dohlen
The spectroscopy of faint planetary-mass companions to nearby stars is one of the main challenges that new-generation high-contrast spectro-imagers are going to face. In a previous work we presented a long slit coronagraph (LSC), for which the presence of a slit in the coronagraphic focal plane induces a complex distribution of energy in the Lyot pupil-plane that cannot be easily masked with a binary Lyot stop. To alleviate this concern, we propose to use a pupil apodization to suppress diffraction, creating an apodized long slit coronagraph (ALSC). After describing how the apodization is optimized, we demonstrate its advantages with respect to the CLC in the context of SPHERE/IRDIS long slit spectroscopy (LSS) mode at low-resolution with a 0.12" slit and 0.18" coronagraphic mask. We perform different sets of simulations with and without aberrations, and with and without a slit to demonstrate that the apodization is a more appropriate concept for LSS, at the expense of a significantly reduced throughput (37%) compared to the LSC. Then we perform detailed end-to-end simulations of the LSC and the ALSC that include realistic levels of aberrations to obtain datasets representing 1h of integration time on stars of spectral types A0 to M0 located at 10 pc. We insert spectra of planetary companions at different effective temperatures (Teff) and surface gravities (log g) into the data at angular separations of 0.3" to 1.5" and with contrast ratios from 6 to 18 mag. Using the SD method to subtract the speckles, we show that the ALSC brings a gain in sensitivity of up to 3 mag at 0.3" with respect to the LSC, which leads to a much better spectral extraction below 0.5". In terms of Teff, we demonstrate that at small angular separations the limit with the ALSC is always lower by at least 100K, inducing an increase of sensitivity of a factor up to 1.8 in objects' masses at young ages.
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