NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
A holographic vortex coronagraph (HVC) has been proposed as an improvement over conventional coronagraphs for use in high-contrast astronomical imaging for detecting planets, dust disks, and other broadband light scatterers in the vicinities of stars other than the Sun. Because such light scatterers are so faint relative to their parent stars, in order to be able to detect them, it is necessary to effect ultra-high-contrast (typically by a factor of the order of 1010) suppression of broadband light from the stars. Unfortunately, the performances of conventional coronagraphs are limited by low throughput, dispersion, and difficulty of satisfying challenging manufacturing requirements. The HVC concept offers the potential to overcome these limitations.