In this paper, we describe the progress of the construction of the Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics laboratory test-bed at the University of Victoria, Canada. The test-bench will be used to support research in the performance of multi-conjugate adaptive optics, turbulence simulators, laser guide stars and miniaturizing adaptive optics. The main components of the test-bed include two micro-machined deformable mirrors, a tip-tilt mirror, four wavefront sensors, a source simulator, a dual-layer turbulence simulator, as well as computational and control hardware. The paper describes changes in the opto-mechanical design, characteristics of the hot-air turbulence generator, performance achievements with the tip-tilt and MEMS deformable mirrors as well as the design and performance of the wavefront sensors and control software.
Adaptive optics systems have seen widespread adoption in the astronomy community. However, next generation telescopes with large apertures and wide fields of view, not to mention the desire to correct for atmospheric turbulence at optical wavelengths, will require a dramatic increase in the number of actuators required for correction. Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) provide a potential solution to this demand for densely packed actuator arrays. In this paper the characteristics of a 140 actuator MEMS based deformable mirror (DM) are investigated with particular emphasis on its application in astronomical adaptive optics systems. In particular the DM surface quality, actuator stroke and influence function are investigated as well as the residual error when attempting to correct Zernike modes.