Abstract

We conceptually describe and design, to first order, an instrument to locally map the spatial coherence of extended and structured sources, such as fiber bundles or the Sun, considered as a mosaic of individual solar cells, which is our main motivation. Our solar coherence instrument (SCI) is an instrument for an afocal solar space telescope; the light from its exit pupil dynamically selects one individual solar cell at a time and performs a series of Young-like experiments with different baselines in order to measure the spectral degree of coherence and therefore the effective correlation length that can be assigned for that solar cell. SCI needs flexibility in terms of selective imaging and Young experiments, which is provided by two digital micromirror devices (DMDs), a technology currently under space qualification. SCI is a compact instrument based on retroreflections, and it generates all data required to image the source, to select the cells, and to implement sequentially a series of Young apertures on a re-imaged pupil. It was designed using the (already launched) Hinode solar optical telescope as a baseline, and the first estimation of the SNR, using commercial DMDs and array sensors, while measuring the modulation of Young interference fringes validates our first-order design.

© 2019 Optical Society of America

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