12 August 2014 The AOLI low-order non-linear curvature wavefront sensor: laboratory and on-sky results
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Abstract
Many adaptive optics (AO) systems in use today require the use of bright reference objects to determine the effects of atmospheric distortions. Typically these systems use Shack-Hartmann Wavefront sensors (SHWFS) to distribute incoming light from a reference object between a large number of sub-apertures. Guyon et al. evaluated the sensitivity of several different wavefront sensing techniques and proposed the non-linear Curvature Wavefront Sensor (nlCWFS) offering improved sensitivity across a range of orders of distortion. On large ground-based telescopes this can provide nearly 100% sky coverage using natural guide stars. We present work being undertaken on the nlCWFS development for the Adaptive Optics Lucky Imager (AOLI) project. The wavefront sensor is being developed as part of a low-order adaptive optics system for use in a dedicated instrument providing an AO corrected beam to a Lucky Imaging based science detector. The nlCWFS provides a total of four reference images on two photon-counting EMCCDs for use in the wavefront reconstruction process. We present results from both laboratory work using a calibration system and the first on-sky data obtained with the nlCWFS at the 4.2 metre William Herschel Telescope, La Palma. In addition, we describe the updated optical design of the wavefront sensor, strategies for minimising intrinsic effects and methods to maximise sensitivity using photon-counting detectors. We discuss on-going work to develop the high speed reconstruction algorithm required for the nlCWFS technique. This includes strategies to implement the technique on graphics processing units (GPUs) and to minimise computing overheads to obtain a prior for a rapid convergence of the wavefront reconstruction. Finally we evaluate the sensitivity of the wavefront sensor based upon both data and low-photon count strategies.
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Jonathan Crass, Jonathan Crass, David King, David King, Craig MacKay, Craig MacKay, } "The AOLI low-order non-linear curvature wavefront sensor: laboratory and on-sky results", Proc. SPIE 9148, Adaptive Optics Systems IV, 91482C (12 August 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2056137; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2056137
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