Thin meniscus primary mirrors with active support have been used successfully in many large telescopes, and also draw attention of many optical fabricators. Because the active support system can correct the low order figure errors, such as astigmatism, coma, trefoil 3<sup>rd</sup> astigmatism, the optical fabricators can just focus on to remove high order figure errors. This will shorten the fabrication time. In this paper, we present an active support system for a 1.2m meniscus parabolic primary mirror. It contains 37 axial push-pull force supports, 3 axial fixed points, and 4 lateral restraints. Some basic performance of the active support system is analyzed and the figure error correction capability is also studied based on Zernike modes.
Active support system is a low-frequency wavefront error correction system, which is often used to correct the mirror deformation resulting from gravity, temperature, wind load, manufacture, installation and other factors. In addition, the active support technology can improve the efficiency of grinding and polishing by adjusting the surface shape in the process of manufacturing large mirrors. This article describes the design of an active support control system for a thin 1.2m primary mirror. The support system consists of 37 axial pneumatic actuators. And in order to change the shape of thin primary mirror we need to precisely control the 37 pneumatic actuators. These 37 pneumatic actuators are divided into six regions. Each region is designed with a control circuit board to realize force closed-loop control for the pneumatic actuators, and all control panels are connected to the PC by CAN bus. The control panels have to support: receive commands from the host PC; control the actuators; periodically return result of control. The whole control system is composed by hardware and control algorithm and communication program.
The active support technique can be applied in the fabrication of large thin meniscus mirror. It can reduce the grinding and polishing difficulty for thin mirror. Compare between two kinds of influence function, we correct the Zernike 5<sup>th</sup>, 6<sup>th</sup>, 10<sup>th</sup> and 11<sup>th</sup> mode deformation. The low-order Zernike modes which are prone to appearing during large primary mirror processing are revised with active support technology. Influence functions are expressed with Z coordinate value and Zernike coefficient of surface shape. This paper reports that respectively adopting different influence functions to solve correction forces and the correction forces compensates specific Zernike modes of mirror deformation. After comparing the PV and RMS values of amendatory residual of surface shape, we analyze the effect of different correction forces to the biggest stress on the underside of the primary mirror. We compare the two methods based on the PV and RMS values of the residual error and the Max-stress. Gain a conclusion that correction forces obtained from Z coordinate value of surface shape is superior to the one obtained from the Zernike coefficient of surface shape.