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Optical Engineering

Efficacy of predictive wavefront control for compensating aero-optical aberrations
Author(s): David J. Goorskey; Jason D. Schmidt; Matthew R. Whiteley
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Paper Abstract

Imaging and laser beam propagation from airborne platforms are degraded by dynamic aberrations due to air flow around the aircraft, aero-mechanical distortions and jitter, and free atmospheric turbulence. For certain applications, like dim-object imaging, free-space optical communications, and laser weapons, adaptive optics (AO) is necessary to compensate for the aberrations in real time. Aero-optical flow is a particularly interesting source of aberrations whose flowing structures can be exploited by adaptive and predictive AO controllers, thereby realizing significant performance gains. We analyze dynamic aero-optical wavefronts to determine the pointing angles at which predictive wavefront control is more effective than conventional, fixed-gain, linear-filter control. It was found that properties of the spatial decompositions and temporal statistics of the wavefronts are directly traceable to specific features in the air flow. Furthermore, the aero-optical wavefront aberrations at the side- and aft-looking angles were the most severe, but they also benefited the most from predictive AO.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 March 2013
PDF: 13 pages
Opt. Eng. 52(7) 071418 doi: 10.1117/1.OE.52.7.071418
Published in: Optical Engineering Volume 52, Issue 7
Show Author Affiliations
David J. Goorskey, MZA Associates Corp. (United States)
Jason D. Schmidt, MZA Associates Corp. (United States)
Matthew R. Whiteley, MZA Associates Corp. (United States)

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