Active Optics for high contrast imaging: Super smooth off-axis parabolas for ELTs XAO instruments


Emmanuel Hugot, Marie Laslandes Marc Ferrari, Kacem El hadi, Kjetil Dohlen


Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille


In the context of direct imaging of exoplanets using XAO, the main limitations in images are due to residual quasi-static speckles induced by atmospheric phase residuals and instrumental static and quasi-static aberrations not corrected by AO: the post-coronagraphic image quality is directly linked to the power spectral density (PSD) of the optical train before the coronagraph. In this context, the potential of Stress Polishing has been demonstrated at LAM after the delivery of the three toric mirrors (TMs) for the VLT-SPHERE instrument. The extreme optical quality of such aspherical optics is obtained thanks to the spherical polishing of warped mirrors using full sized tools, avoiding the generation of high spatial frequency ripples due to classical sub-aperture tool marks. Furthermore, sub-nanometric roughnesses have been obtained thanks to a super smoothing method. Work is ongoing at LAM in order to improve this manufacturing method to cover a wide range of off-axis aspherics, with a reduction of the manufacturing time and cost. Smart warping structures are designed in order to bend the mirrors with a combination of focus, astigmatism and coma. This development will allow the stress polishing of supersmooth OAP for XAO optical relays improving the wavefront quality and in this way the high contrast level of future exoplanet imagers.