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See detailConceptual design of the ALADDIN Antarctic nulling interferometer
Barillot, Marc; Courteau, Pascal; Absil, Olivier ULg et al

in Monnier, John; Schöller, Markus; Danchi, William (Eds.) Advances in Stellar Interferometry (2006, July 01)

It is commonly accepted that highly challenging planet finding missions such as Darwin and TPF need precursors on the ground, for both technological demonstration and study of the exozodiacal clouds ... [more ▼]

It is commonly accepted that highly challenging planet finding missions such as Darwin and TPF need precursors on the ground, for both technological demonstration and study of the exozodiacal clouds around potential targets. A first instrument, GENIE, designed to be implemented in the interferometric laboratory of the VLTI, was studied by ESA and scientific/industrial teams. In this paper we present a concept for ALADDIN, an operational nulling instrument to be implemented at Dome C in Antarctica, and discuss the comparison with GENIE from the instrumental point of view. Our preliminary design involves moderate ~1m size telescopes mounted on a 40m long rotating beam allowing baselines up to 30m and feeding a 2-arm nulling beam combiner. When compared to GENIE, the rotating beam design has the advantage of removing the need for both long-stroke delay line and dispersion control equipments. As a side effect, the instrumental arrangement of ALADDIN finds itself more representative of what Darwin will be. Furthermore, critical issues like phase control, photometric balance and instrumental background suppression are expected to be relaxed by the improved atmospheric conditions, lower temperature, and simpler optical trains. Calibration of geometrical stellar leakage will make advantage of the continuously adjustable baseline. As results, a simpler instrument showing improved performance is expected. In conclusion, we see our ALADDIN concept as a valuable alternative to GENIE, with a quite stronger scientific potential and a considerably simplified instrumental design. [less ▲]

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