Reference : Diffractive straylight rejection system for wide field imagers. Design, performance and ...
Dissertations and theses : Doctoral thesis
Engineering, computing & technology : Aerospace & aeronautics engineering
Diffractive straylight rejection system for wide field imagers. Design, performance and application to the STEREO solar space mission.
Halain, Jean-Philippe mailto [Université de Liège - ULg > Département d'aérospatiale et mécanique > >]
Université de Liège, ​​Belgium
Docteur en en sciences de l’ingénieur
Rochus, Pierre mailto
Kerschen, Gaëtan mailto
Habraken, Serge mailto
Embrechts, Jean-Jacques mailto
Defise, Jean-Marc mailto
Eyles, Chris mailto
Korendyke, Clarence mailto
Verschueren, Werner mailto
[en] Fresnel diffraction ; Straylight rejection ; Straylight measurement ; STEREO ; Heliospheric imager
[en] Space-born wide field imagers have become a new tool used in the frame of Solar Physics and in particular in the field of Space Weather. One particular application is the tracking of coronal mass ejection (CME), generated by violent eruptions on the sun’s surface, that propagates in the heliosphere. The CME brightness however rapidly decreases with the distance from the Sun.
To reach a sufficient signal to noise ratio and follow CME away from the Sun, a high sensitivity is therefore required and the unwanted parasitic light (so called straylight) must be minimized. In particular, the Sun disk brightness must be occulted by a highly rejecting baffle system.
A multi-edge diffractive baffle can provide a very high level of straylight attenuation for nearly collimated light source. A model of the multi-edge diffractive rejection has been implemented on the basis of the Fresnel diffraction theory. It allows the design and optimisation of such diffractive baffle as function of the instrument and observing geometries. The model was validated on a diffractive baffle mock-up, providing rejection down to an un-precedent level of 10-10 of the input flux.
The model of multi-edge diffractive baffle has been applied to the specific configuration of the Heliospheric Imager (HI), on-board the NASA scientific Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) mission, as part of its overall straylight reduction. The STEREO-HI baffle performance has been validated on a prototype and during the final end-to-end calibration of the flight instrument.
After launch, the in-flight straylight level has been quantified, showing a very good correspondence with the on-ground measurements. The straylight evolution has also been shown to be stable during the mission, showing the baffle efficiency does not degrade with the space environment.
The STEREO-HI instrument achieves a 10-13 rejection level, or greater, of the solar brightness at the detector pixel level. This instrument is the first wide field space imager viewing from outside the Sun-Earth line, and therefore able to directly follow the propagation of CME from the Sun to the Earth with a high accuracy and sensitivity. Since its launch, it provides unprecedented images and information on solar wind and CME propagation and evolution in the heliosphere.
The next generation of wide-field solar imagers are under development for the ESA Solar Orbiter and NASA Solar Probe Plus missions. Their concept benefits from of the STEREO-HI front diffractive baffle system and is based on a multi-edge diffractive baffle to protect their cameras from solar disk brightness.
The straylight calibration of these two instruments is in preparation and will be performed at the Centre Spatial de Liège with the tools and methods developed in the frame of the present work.
Centre Spatial de Liège - CSL
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