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Phase-shifting technique for improving the imaging capacity of sparse-aperture optical interferometers

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Abstract

We describe the principle of a multiaperture interferometer that uses a phase-shifting technique and is suitable for quick snapshot imaging of astrophysical objects at extreme angular resolution through Fourier inversion. A few advantages of the proposed design are highlighted, among which are radiometric efficiency, field of view equivalent to those of Fizeau interferometers, and a preliminary calibration procedure allowing characterization of instrumental errors. For large telescope numbers, the proposed design also results in considerable simplification of the optical and mechanical design. Numerical simulations suggest that it should be possible to couple hundreds of telescopes on a single 4K×4K detector array, using only conventional optical components or emerging technologies.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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