21 July 2014 The ARGOS laser system: green light for ground layer adaptive optics at the LBT
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Abstract
We report on the development of the laser system of ARGOS, the multiple laser guide star adaptive optics system for the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT). The system uses a total of six high powered, pulsed Nd:YAG lasers frequency-doubled to a wavelength of 532 nm to generate a set of three guide stars above each of the LBT telescopes. The position of each of the LGS constellations on sky as well as the relative position of the individual laser guide stars within this constellation is controlled by a set of steerable mirrors and a fast tip-tilt mirror within the laser system. The entire opto-mechanical system is housed in two hermetically sealed and thermally controlled enclosures on the SX and DX side of the LBT telescope. The laser beams are propagated through two refractive launch telescopes which focus the beams at an altitude of 12 km, creating a constellation of laser guide stars around a 4 arcminute diameter circle by means of Rayleigh scattering. In addition to the GLAO Rayleigh beacon system, ARGOS has also been designed for a possible future upgrade with a hybrid sodium laser - Rayleigh beacon combination, enabling diffraction limited operation. The ARGOS laser system was successfully installed at the LBT in April 2013. Extensive functional tests have been carried out and have verified the operation of the systems according to specifications. The alignment of the laser system with respect to the launch telescope was carried out during two more runs in June and October 2013, followed by the first propagation of laser light on sky in November 2013.
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Walfried Raab, Sebastian Rabien, Wolfgang Gässler, Simone Esposito, Lothar Barl, Jose Borelli, Matthias Daysenroth, Hans Gemperlein, Martin Kulas, Julian Ziegleder, "The ARGOS laser system: green light for ground layer adaptive optics at the LBT", Proc. SPIE 9148, Adaptive Optics Systems IV, 91483K (21 July 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2056299; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2056299
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