[en] Nulling interferometry constitutes a very promising technique in observational astrophysics. This method consists in attenuating the signal of a bright astrophysical object in order to detect much fainter nearby features, e.g. exoplanets around their host star. An on-axis destructive interference is created by adjusting the phases of the beams coming from various telescopes. The huge flux ratio between the parent star and the planet (106 in the thermal infrared) requires unprecedented high performance broadband phase shifters. We present a new design for these key components called Achromatic Phase Shifters (APS). We propose to use subwavelength diffractive optical elements under total internal reflection (TIR) incidence. Our component can be seen as an evolution of the Fresnel Rhomb technology.
Fonds pour la formation à la Recherche dans l'Industrie et dans l'Agriculture (Communauté française de Belgique) - FRIA