Achieving High Contrasts Through Speckle Rejection With Slicer Based Integral Field Spectrographs
Graeme Salter, Niranjan Thatte, Matthias Tecza, Fraser Clarke
University of New South Wales, University of Oxford
Speckle noise, not photon noise, remains to be the limiting factor in the direct detection of high contrast companions. With studies for the future exo-planet characterisation and imaging instruments on the ELTs under way, the correct choice of technology must be made that will enable the fitting and removal of the speckle noise that remains after AO. We conclusively demonstrate, through the use of an experimental setup producing a simulated speckle, that slicer based integral field spectrographs (IFS) and post-processing using spectral deconvolution can achieve speckle rejection factors of 1000 in broad band reconstructed images (and 100 per spectral channel). This represents an order of magnitude improvement over current state-of-the-art. Contrary to popular belief, we do not find any evidence that this choice of IFS technology limits the achievable contrast of extra solar planet direct detection instruments. Coupled with extreme adaptive optics systems and high performance coronagraphs, a slicer based integral field spectrograph can achieve contrasts exceeding 10^9, making it an attractive option for the next generation of instruments being designed for the direct detection of extra solar planets (e.g. EPICS for the E-ELT).