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A high-contrast coronagraph for earth-like exoplanet direct imaging: design and test
The high-contrast coronagraph for direct imaging earth-like exoplanet at the visible needs a contrast of 10^-10 at a small angular separation of 4Y/D or less. Here we report our recent laboratory experiment that is close to the limits. The test of the high-contrast imaging coronagraph is based on our step-transmission apodized filter. To achieve the goal, we use a liquid crystal array (LCA) as a phase corrector to create a dark hole based on our dedicated focal dark algorithm.We have suppressed the diffracted and speckle noise near the star point image to a level of 1.68 x 10^-9 at 4Y/D, which can be immediately used for the direct imaging of Jupiter like exoplanets. This demonstrates that high-contrast coronagraph telescope in space has the potentiality to detect and characterize earth-like planets.