The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Coarse Phase Sensor utilizes Dispersed Hartmann Sensing (DHS)<sup>1</sup> to measure the inter-segment piston errors of the primary mirror. The DHS technique was tested on the Keck Telescope. Two DHS optical components were built to mate with the Keck optical and mechanical interfaces. DHS images were acquired using 20 different primary mirror configurations. The mirror configurations consisted of random segment pistons applied to 18 of the 36 segments. The inter-segment piston errors ranged from phased (approximately 0 μm) to as large as ±25 μm. Two broadband exposures were taken for each primary mirror configuration: one for the DHS component situated at 0°, and one for the DHS component situated at 60°. Finally, a "closed-loop" DHS sensing and control experiment was performed. Sensing algorithms developed by both Adaptive Optics Associates (AOA) and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)<sup>2</sup> were applied to the collected DHS images. The inter-segment piston errors determined by the AOA and JPL algorithms were compared to the actual piston steps. The data clearly demonstrates that the DHS works quite well as an estimator of segment-to-segment piston errors using stellar sources.
Characterization and calibration process for a liquid crystal (LC) spatial light modulator (SLM) containing dual frequency liquid crystal is described. Special care was taken when dealing with LC cell gap non-uniformity and defect pixels. The calibration results were fed into a closed loop control algorithm to demonstrate correction of wavefront distortions. The performance characteristics of the device were reported. Substantial improvements were made in speed (bandwidth), resolution, power consumption and system weight/volume.
A versatile, scalable wavefront control approach based upon proven liquid crystal (LC) spatial light modulator (SLM) technology was extended for potential use in high-energy near-infrared laser applications. The reflective LC SLM module demonstrated has a two-inch diameter active aperture with 812 pixels. Using an ultra-low absorption transparent conductor in the LC SLM, a high laser damage threshold was demonstrated. Novel dual frequency liquid crystal materials and addressing schemes were implemented to achieve fast switching speed (<1ms at 1.31 microns). Combining this LCSLM with a novel wavefront sensing method, a closed loop wavefront controller is being demonstrated. Compared to conventional deformable mirrors, this non-mechanical wavefront control approach offers substantial improvements in speed (bandwidth), resolution, power consumption and system weight/volume.