12 September 2012 Enhancing the limiting sensitivity of optical/infrared interferometry with natural guide star adaptive optics: happy couples or bad bed-fellows?
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Abstract
Enhancing the limiting sensitivity of optical/infrared interferometry is one of the "holy grails" of interferometric research. While the use of adaptive optics is in principle attractive, a number of issues suggest that its ability to enhance the sensitivity of ground-based arrays is less clear. Indeed, the ultimate sensitivity of an array may be limited by any of the multiple active and photon-hungry subsystems that comprise its whole. In this paper we investigate the limiting sensitivity of interferometer arrays using unit telescopes of moderate size (i.e. with D ≤ 4 m) equipped with natural guide star adaptive optics systems. We focus on how to realise the best limiting sensitivity for observations in the near-infrared. We nd that for Vega-type targets, i.e. those that have similar magnitudes at all wavelengths, the use of an adaptive optics system can provide enchancements in limiting sensitivity of up to 1.5 magnitudes. However, for redder targets this improvement can decrease dramatically, and very similar sensitivity (Δmlimiting ≤ 0.5) can be obtained with arrays using 1.5m-class apertures and tip-tilt correction alone.
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Alexander D. Rea, Alexander D. Rea, Christopher A. Haniff, Christopher A. Haniff, } "Enhancing the limiting sensitivity of optical/infrared interferometry with natural guide star adaptive optics: happy couples or bad bed-fellows?", Proc. SPIE 8445, Optical and Infrared Interferometry III, 84451Q (12 September 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.925684; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.925684
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