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Proceedings Paper

KAPAO: a MEMS-based natural guide star adaptive optics system
Author(s): Scott A. Severson; Philip I. Choi; Daniel S. Contreras; Blaine N. Gilbreth; Erik Littleton; Lorcan P. McGonigle; William A. Morrison; Alex R. Rudy; Jonathan R. Wong; Andrew Xue; Erik Spjut; Christoph Baranec; Reed Riddle
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Paper Abstract

We describe KAPAO, our project to develop and deploy a low-cost, remote-access, natural guide star adaptive optics (AO) system for the Pomona College Table Mountain Observatory (TMO) 1-meter telescope. We use a commercially available 140-actuator BMC MEMS deformable mirror and a version of the Robo-AO control software developed by Caltech and IUCAA. We have structured our development around the rapid building and testing of a prototype system, KAPAO-Alpha, while simultaneously designing our more capable final system, KAPAO-Prime. The main differences between these systems are the prototype's reliance on off-the-shelf optics and a single visible-light science camera versus the final design's improved throughput and capabilities due to the use of custom optics and dual-band, visible and near-infrared imaging. In this paper, we present the instrument design and on-sky closed-loop testing of KAPAO-Alpha as well as our plans for KAPAO-Prime. The primarily undergraduate-education nature of our partner institutions, both public (Sonoma State University) and private (Pomona and Harvey Mudd Colleges), has enabled us to engage physics, astronomy, and engineering undergraduates in all phases of this project. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0960343.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 March 2013
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 8617, MEMS Adaptive Optics VII, 861709 (5 March 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2005959
Show Author Affiliations
Scott A. Severson, Sonoma State Univ. (United States)
Philip I. Choi, Pomona College (United States)
Daniel S. Contreras, Pomona College (United States)
Blaine N. Gilbreth, Sonoma State Univ. (United States)
Erik Littleton, Pomona College (United States)
Lorcan P. McGonigle, Pomona College (United States)
William A. Morrison, Pomona College (United States)
Alex R. Rudy, Pomona College (United States)
Jonathan R. Wong, Pomona College (United States)
Andrew Xue, Harvey Mudd College (United States)
Erik Spjut, Harvey Mudd College (United States)
Christoph Baranec, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Reed Riddle, California Institute of Technology (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8617:
MEMS Adaptive Optics VII
Scot S. Olivier; Thomas G. Bifano; Joel Kubby, Editor(s)

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