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See detailA near-infrared interferometric survey of debris disc stars. III. First statistics based on 42 stars observed with CHARA/FLUOR
Absil, Olivier ULg; Defrère, Denis; Coudé du Foresto, Vincent et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2013), 555

Context. Dust is expected to be ubiquitous in extrasolar planetary systems due to the dynamical activity of minor bodies. Inner dust populations are, however, still poorly known due to the high contrast ... [more ▼]

Context. Dust is expected to be ubiquitous in extrasolar planetary systems due to the dynamical activity of minor bodies. Inner dust populations are, however, still poorly known due to the high contrast and small angular separation with respect to their host star. Yet, a proper characterisation of exozodiacal dust is mandatory for the design of future Earth-like planet imaging missions. Aims. We aim to determine the level of near-infrared exozodiacal dust emission around a sample of 42 nearby main sequence stars with spectral types ranging from A to K, and to investigate its correlation with various stellar parameters and with the presence of cold dust belts. Methods. We use high-precision K-band visibilities obtained with the FLUOR interferometer on the shortest baseline of the CHARA array. The calibrated visibilities are compared with the expected visibility of the stellar photosphere to assess the presence of an additional, fully resolved circumstellar emission source. Results. Near-infrared circumstellar emission amounting to about 1% of the stellar flux is detected around 13 of our 42 target stars. Follow-up observations showed that one of them (eps Cep) is associated with a stellar companion, while another one was detected around what turned out to be a giant star (kap CrB). The remaining 11 excesses found around single main sequence stars are most probably due to the presence of hot circumstellar dust, yielding an overall occurrence rate of 28+8-6% for our (biased) sample. We show that the occurrence rate of bright exozodiacal discs correlates with spectral type, K-band excesses being more frequent around A-type stars. It also correlates with the presence of detectable far-infrared excess emission in the case of solar-type stars. Conclusions. This study provides new insights regarding the phenomenon of bright exozodiacal disc, showing that hot dust populations are probably linked to outer dust reservoirs in the case of solar-type stars. In the case of A-type stars, no clear conclusion can be made regarding the origin of the detected near-infrared excesses. [less ▲]

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See detailDesign, manufacturing, and performance analysis of mid-infrared achromatic half-wave plates with diamond subwavelength gratings
Delacroix, Christian ULg; Forsberg, Pontus; Karlsson, Mikael et al

in Applied Optics (2012), 51

In this paper, we present an elegant solution for creating robust monolithic achromatic half-wave plates (HWPs) for the infrared, based on the form birefringence of subwavelength gratings (SWGs) made out ... [more ▼]

In this paper, we present an elegant solution for creating robust monolithic achromatic half-wave plates (HWPs) for the infrared, based on the form birefringence of subwavelength gratings (SWGs) made out of diamond. We use the rigorous coupled wave analysis to design the gratings. Our analysis shows that diamond, besides its outstanding physical and mechanical properties, is a suitable substrate to manufacture mid-infrared HWPs, thanks to its high refractive index which allows etching SWGs with lower aspect ratio. Based on our optized design, we manufactured a diamond HWP for the 11-13.2 µm region, with an estimated mean retardance ~3.143 ± 0.061 rad (180.08 ± 3.51°). In addition, an antireflective grating was etched on the backside of the wave plate, allowing a total tansmittance between 89 and 95% over the band. [less ▲]

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See detailA diamond AGPM coronagraph for VISIR
Delacroix, Christian ULg; Absil, Olivier ULg; Mawet, Dimitri et al

in Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy IV (2012, July 05)

In recent years, phase mask coronagraphy has become increasingly efficient in imaging the close environment of stars, enabling the search for exoplanets and circumstellar disks. Coronagraphs are ideally ... [more ▼]

In recent years, phase mask coronagraphy has become increasingly efficient in imaging the close environment of stars, enabling the search for exoplanets and circumstellar disks. Coronagraphs are ideally suited instruments, characterized by high dynamic range imaging capabilities, while preserving a small inner working angle. The AGPM (Annular Groove Phase Mask, Mawet et al. 20051) consists of a vector vortex induced by a rotationally symmetric subwavelength grating. This technique constitutes an almost unique solution to the achromatization at longer wavelengths (mid-infrared). For this reason, we have specially conceived a mid-infrared AGPM coronagraph for the forthcoming upgrade of VISIR, the mid-IR imager and spectrograph on the VLT at ESO (Paranal), in collaboration with members of the VISIR consortium. The implementation phase of the VISIR Upgrade Project is foreseen for May-August 2012, and the AGPM installed will cover the 11-13.2 μm spectral range. In this paper, we present the entire fabrication process of our AGPM imprinted on a diamond substrate. Diamond is an ideal material for mid-infrared wavelengths owing to its high transparency, small dispersion, extremely low thermal expansion and outstanding mechanical and chemical properties. The design process has been performed with an algorithm based on the rigorous coupled wave analysis (RCWA), and the micro-fabrication has been carried out using nano-imprint lithography and reactive ion etching. A precise grating profile metrology has also been conducted using cleaving techniques. Finally, we show the deposit of fiducials (i.e. centering marks) with Aerosol Jet Printing (AJP). We conclude with the ultimate coronagraph expected performances. [less ▲]

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See detailDevelopment of diamond AGPM coronagraphs for VISIR and NACO
Delacroix, Christian ULg; Habraken, Serge ULg; Karlsson, Mikael et al

Conference (2012, March 22)

Detailed reference viewed: 24 (3 ULg)