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Concept of an achromatic stellar coronagraph and its application for detecting extrasolar planets
Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems  (IF1.436),  Pub Date : 2021-07-01, DOI: 10.1117/1.jatis.7.3.035001
Bhavesh Jaiswal

Imaging the planets that orbit around other stars requires blocking the host star which is usually 8 to 10 orders of magnitude brighter than the planets. This is achieved with the help of a stellar coronagraph. In the current work, a concept of a new type of stellar coronagraph is introduced where the star light is blocked by a linear polarizer in the collimated beam. It is based on differential rotation between the linear polarization state of planet light and that of star light. This is achieved with the help of a set of thick birefringent crystals in the collimated beam of a telescope where the planet light is made to travel extra optical path length compared to star light. By adjusting the orientation and thickness of the crystal, the optical path length can be made to cause a phase difference of π, just enough to rotate the initial plane of polarization by 90 deg for planet-light without affecting the star light. Theoretical calculations involving the phase difference due to birefringent crystals are presented along with the basic configuration and design. It is shown that the design blocks the star light identically at all wavelengths. Application of this concept for detecting Earth-like extrasolar planet is discussed using a 1-m class telescope.