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Opt Lett. 2005 Oct 1;30(19):2572-4.

Pyramid sensor for segmented mirror alignment.

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  • 1Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo E. Fermi 5, 50125-Firenze, Italy.


We report what is to our knowledge the first laboratory experiment that shows the use of a pyramid wavefront sensor to cophase and align segmented mirrors having three degrees of freedom per segment, i.e., piston, tip, and tilt. In the laboratory the iterative alignment procedure reached a wavefront residual error of about 10 nm. The residual error was equally distributed between piston, tip, and tilt. These results demonstrate that the pyramid can successfully simultaneously sense the piston, tip, and tilt of a segmented mirror. This last feature makes this technique very attractive in phasing and aligning astronomical segmented telescopes such as extremely large telescopes currently under extensive studies.

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