METIS, the Mid-nfrared E-ELT Imager and Spectrometer, will be providing high-sensitivity imaging and high-resolution spectroscopy in the mid-infrared (3-19 micrometer) to the E-ELT. In order to achieve the exceptional performance required by its driving science cases, exoplanets and proto-planetary disks, METIS will be featuring two Adaptive Optics (AO) systems — a first-light Single Conjugate Adaptive Optics (SCAO) system, complemented by a Laser Tomographic Adaptive Optics (LTAO) system, most likely, a few years after first light. METIS, being one of the three first light science instruments on the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), will be one of the first instruments using the integrated deformable mirror of the E-ELT for its Adaptive Optics (AO) correction.
The internal SCAO system designed to maximize the performance for bright targets and has its wavefront sensors (WFSs) build inside the METIS cryostat to minimize the number of warm surfaces towards the science detectors. Although the internal dichroic will reflect all light short wards of 3 micrometers towards the WFS, only the IR light will most likely be used, mainly due to the expected improved performance at longer wavelengths for the WFS. A trade-off has been made between both visible versus infrared wave front sensing as well as Pyramid versus Shack-Hartmann, under various observing conditions and target geometries, taking into account performance, target availability, reliability and technology readiness level. The base line for the SCAO system is to minimize system complexity, thereby ensuring system availability and reliability even under first-light conditions.
Since the SCAO system will require a bright guide star near the science target, it can only be used for a limited number of targets. The LTAO system, consisting of up to 6 LGS and up to 3 low-order NGS WFS and located outside the cryostat, is designed to increase the sky coverage on arbitrary targets to >80%. Investigations are ongoing if the internal SCAO system can be used as either a Low-Order WFS or metrology system.
The problem of atmospheric tomography arises in ground-based telescope imaging with adaptive optics (AO), where one aims to compensate in real-time for the rapidly changing optical distortions in the atmosphere. Many of these systems depend on a sufficient reconstruction of the turbulence profiles in order to obtain a good correction. Due to steadily growing telescope sizes, there is a strong increase in the computational load for atmospheric reconstruction with current methods, first and foremost the MVM. In this paper we present and compare three novel iterative reconstruction methods. The first iterative approach is the Finite Element- Wavelet Hybrid Algorithm (FEWHA), which combines wavelet-based techniques and conjugate gradient schemes to efficiently and accurately tackle the problem of atmospheric reconstruction. The method is extremely fast, highly flexible and yields superior quality. Another novel iterative reconstruction algorithm is the three step approach which decouples the problem in the reconstruction of the incoming wavefronts, the reconstruction of the turbulent layers (atmospheric tomography) and the computation of the best mirror correction (fitting step). For the atmospheric tomography problem within the three step approach, the Kaczmarz algorithm and the Gradient-based method have been developed. We present a detailed comparison of our reconstructors both in terms of quality and speed performance in the context of a Multi-Object Adaptive Optics (MOAO) system for the E-ELT setting on OCTOPUS, the ESO end-to-end simulation tool.