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Opt Express. 2009 Mar 30;17(7):5829-44.

Stroke saturation on a MEMS deformable mirror for woofer-tweeter adaptive optics.

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  • 1National Science Foundation Center for Adaptive Optics 2 UCO/Lick Observatory, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA, 95064, USA. ktmorz@ucolick.org

Abstract

High-contrast imaging of extrasolar planet candidates around a main-sequence star has recently been realized from the ground using current adaptive optics (AO) systems. Advancing such observations will be a task for the Gemini Planet Imager, an upcoming "extreme" AO instrument. High-order "tweeter" and low-order "woofer" deformable mirrors (DMs) will supply a >90%-Strehl correction, a specialized coronagraph will suppress the stellar flux, and any planets can then be imaged in the "dark hole" region. Residual wavefront error scatters light into the DM-controlled dark hole, making planets difficult to image above the noise. It is crucial in this regard that the high-density tweeter, a micro-electrical mechanical systems (MEMS) DM, have sufficient stroke to deform to the shapes required by atmospheric turbulence. Laboratory experiments were conducted to determine the rate and circumstance of saturation, i.e. stroke insufficiency. A 1024-actuator 1.5-microm-stroke MEMS device was empirically tested with software Kolmogorov-turbulence screens of r(0) =10-15 cm. The MEMS when solitary suffered saturation approximately 4% of the time. Simulating a woofer DM with approximately 5-10 actuators across a 5-m primary mitigated MEMS saturation occurrence to a fraction of a percent. While no adjacent actuators were saturated at opposing positions, mid-to-high-spatial-frequency stroke did saturate more frequently than expected, implying that correlations through the influence functions are important. Analytical models underpredict the stroke requirements, so empirical studies are important.

PMID:
19333352
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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