27 July 2016 Solving the MCAO partial illumination issue and laboratory results
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Abstract
Telescopes or instruments equipped with Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics (MCAO) provide uniform turbulence correction over a wide Field of View (FoV), thereby overcoming the problems of isoplanatism and enabling previously challenging science. LINC-NIRVANA (LN), the German-Italian near-infrared high-resolution imager for the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT), has an advanced and unique MCAO module, which uses the Optical Co-addition of Layer- Oriented Multiple-FoV Natural Guide Star approach to MCAO with pyramid wavefront sensing. The layer-oriented wavefront correction can be performed by conjugating the Deformable Mirrors (DM) and the respective Wavefront Sensors (WFS) to the corresponding atmospheric layers. LN corrects for the aberrations in two different layers. The ground layer, conjugated to the telescope pupil ~100m above LBT, is corrected by the Ground-layer Wavefront Sensors (GWS) driving the LBT adaptive secondary mirrors, and a higher layer ∼7.1km above the telescope is corrected by the High-layer Wavefront Sensors (HWS) driving a pair of Xinetics DMs on the LN bench.

At the ground layer, the footprints of the stars overlap completely and every star footprint illuminates the entire pupil-plane. However, for a higher layer, the footprints do not overlap completely and each star illuminates a different region of the conjugated plane. Lack of stars, therefore, results in some regions in this "meta-pupil"-plane not being illuminated, implying no information regarding the aberrations in these areas. The optimum way of correcting the high layer, given this limited information, is the crux of the "partial illumination issue". In this paper, we propose a solution for this issue and discuss laboratory results from the aligned LN bench in the lab. Currently, LN has completed the re-integration and re-alignment at LBT. In early June 2016, we tested our partial illumination algorithm in the instrument’s final configuration in the LBT mountain lab, using simulated stars. On sky testing will begin in late 2016.
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K. K. R. Santhakumari, K. K. R. Santhakumari, C. Arcidiacono, C. Arcidiacono, T. Bertram, T. Bertram, J. Berwein, J. Berwein, T. M. Herbst, T. M. Herbst, R. Ragazzoni, R. Ragazzoni, "Solving the MCAO partial illumination issue and laboratory results", Proc. SPIE 9909, Adaptive Optics Systems V, 99096M (27 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2230683; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2230683
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