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MEMs adaptive optics at the Naval Research Laboratory
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Paper Abstract

The Naval Prototype Optical Interferometer (NPOI) is the longest baseline at visible wavelengths interferometer in the world. The astronomical capabilities of such an instrument are being exploited and recent results will be presented. NPOI is also the largest optical telescope belonging to the US Department of Defense with a maximum baseline of 435 meter has a resolution that is approximately 181 times the resolution attainable by the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and 118 times the resolution attainable by the Advanced Electro-Optical System (AEOS). It is also the only optical interferometer capable of recombining up to six apertures simultaneously. The NPOI is a sparse aperture and its sensitivity is limited by the size of the unit aperture, currently that size is 0.5 meters. In order to increase the overall sensitivity of the instrument a program was started to manufacture larger, 1.4 meter, ultra-light telescopes. The lightness of the telescopes requirement is due to the fact that telescopes have to be easily transportable in order to reconfigure the array. For this reason a program was started three years ago to investigate the feasibility of manufacturing Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) telescopes, including the optics. Furthermore, since the unit apertures are now much larger than r0 there is a need to compensate the aperture with adaptive optics (AO). Since the need for mobility of the telescopes, compact AO systems, based on Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems (MEMS), have been developed. This paper will present the status of our adaptive optics system and some of the results attained so far with it.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 May 2011
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 8031, Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications III, 80310M (13 May 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.884885
Show Author Affiliations
Sergio R. Restaino, U.S. Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Jonathan R. Andrews, U.S. Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Ty Martinez, U.S. Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Christopher C. Wilcox, U.S. Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Freddie Santiago, U.S. Naval Research Lab. (United States)
Don M. Payne, Narrascape (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8031:
Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications III
Thomas George; M. Saif Islam; Achyut K. Dutta, Editor(s)

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