By sensing and compensating wavefront aberration, adaptive optics (AO) systems have proven themselves crucial in large astronomical telescopes, retinal imaging, and holographic coherent imaging. Commercial AO systems for laboratory use are now available in the market. One such is the ThorLabs AO kit built around a Boston Micromachines deformable mirror. However, there are limitations in applying these systems to research and pedagogical projects since the software is written with limited flexibility. In this paper, we describe a MATLAB-based software suite to interface with the ThorLabs AO kit by using the MATLAB Engine API and Visual Studio. The software is designed to offer complete access to the wavefront sensor data, through the various levels of processing, to the command signals to the deformable mirror and fast steering mirror. In this way, through a MATLAB GUI, an operator can experiment with every aspect of the AO system’s functioning. This is particularly valuable for tests of new control algorithms as well as to support student engagement in an academic environment. We plan to make the code freely available to the community.
Many engineering projects require automated control of analog voltages over a specified range. We have developed a computer interface comprising custom hardware and MATLAB code to provide real-time control of a Thorlabs adaptive optics (AO) kit. The hardware interface includes an op amp cascade to linearly shift and scale a voltage range. With easy modifications, any linear transformation can be accommodated. In AO applications, the design is suitable to drive a range of different types of deformable and fast steering mirrors (FSM’s). Our original motivation and application was to control an Optics in Motion (OIM) FSM which requires the customer to devise a unique interface to supply voltages to the mirror controller to set the mirror’s angular deflection. The FSM is in an optical servo loop with a wave front sensor (WFS), which controls the dynamic behavior of the mirror’s deflection. The code acquires wavefront data from the WFS and fits a plane, which is subsequently converted into its corresponding angular deflection. The FSM provides ±3° optical angular deflection for a ±10 V voltage swing. Voltages are applied to the mirror via a National Instruments digital-to-analog converter (DAC) followed by an op amp cascade circuit. This system has been integrated into our Thorlabs AO testbed which currently runs at 11 Hz, but with planned software upgrades, the system update rate is expected to improve to 500 Hz. To show that the FSM subsystem is ready for this speed, we conducted two different PID tuning runs at different step commands. Once 500 Hz is achieved, we plan to make the code and method for our interface solution freely available to the community.
Standard adaptive optics systems measure the aberrations in the wavefronts of a beacon guide star caused by atmospheric turbulence, which limits the corrected field of view to the isoplanatic patch, the solid angle over which the optical aberration is roughly constant. For imaging systems that require a corrected field of view larger than the isoplanatic angle, a three-dimensional estimate of the aberration is required. We are developing a wide-field imaging Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor (WFS) that will characterize turbulence over a large field of view tens of times the size of the isoplanatic angle. The technique will find application in horizontal and downward looking remote sensing scenarios where high resolution imaging through extended atmospheric turbulence is required. The laboratory prototype system consists of a scene generator, turbulence simulator, a Shack Hartman WFS arm, and an imaging arm. The system has a high intrinsic Strehl ratio, is telecentric, and diffraction limited. We present preliminary data and analysis from the system.