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Proceedings Paper

Unconventional adaptive mirrors at the University of Arizona
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Paper Abstract

We describe the construction and application of innovative deformable mirrors for adaptive optics (AO) being developed at the University of Arizona's Center for Astronomical Adaptive Optics. The mirrors are up to 1 m in diameter, with high actuator stroke, and are optically powered. Scientific motivations for the work include the detection of earthlike planets around other nearby stars, as well as non-astronomical applications such as directed energy and horizontal imaging for defense and security. We describe how high resolution imaging is delivered over an unusually wide field of view by ground-layer AO. This technique employs multiple laser guide stars to sense the instantaneous three-dimensional distribution of atmospheric turbulence. Imaging with high signal-to-noise ratio in the thermal infrared is enabled by embedding the deformable mirror directly in the telescope. We also describe recent work to develop a new generation of these mirrors with lighter weight and improved robustness by use of replicated composite materials which shows promise for greatly reducing the cost of AO and broadening its appeal, particularly for non-astronomical applications as well as for a new generation of extremely large ground-based telescopes of 30 m diameter now under construction.

Paper Details

Date Published: 3 May 2012
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 8373, Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications IV, 83730U (3 May 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.919059
Show Author Affiliations
Michael Hart, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
S. Mark Ammons, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Blake Coughenour, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Robert Romeo, Composite Mirror Applications, Inc. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8373:
Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications IV
Thomas George; M. Saif Islam; Achyut Dutta, Editor(s)

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