The application of adaptive optics has been hindered by the cost, size, and complexity of the systems. We describe here
progress we have made toward creating low-cost compact turn-key adaptive optics systems. We describe our new low-cost
deformable mirror technology developed using polymer membranes, the associated USB interface drive
electronics, and different ways that this technology can be configured into a low-cost compact adaptive optics system.
We also present results of a parametric study of the stochastic parallel gradient descent (SPGD) control algorithm.
In prior work we introduced a method of choosing mesh parameters for a single wave-optics propagation between two
effective apertures. Unfortunately, most systems that require wave-optics modeling, like modeling laser resonators with
gain media, propagations through the atmosphere, and imaging systems with internal limiting apertures, have multiple
apertures and phase screens that induce diffraction. We begin here by augmenting the single propagation theory to
include diffraction from both apertures and phase aberrations. We then introduce a technique for analyzing complex
systems of simple optics to determine the appropriate wave-optics mesh parameters.
In prior work we described a 5x5 ray matrix formalism and how to integrate the effects that are not modeled in wave-optics
with the ray matrix model. In this paper we describe how to complete the integration of the two techniques by
modifying the Siegman ABCD ray matrix decomposition. After removing the separable effects like image rotation and
image inversion, we break the 5x5 ray matrix into two 2x2 sections (a.k.a. the ABCD matrices) that correspond to the
two axes orthogonal to the propagation. We then present a general algorithm that breaks any arbitrary ABCD matrix
into four simple wave-optics steps. The algorithm presented has sufficient generality to handle image planes and focal
planes. This technique allows for rapid and accurate wave-optics modeling of the propagation of light through complex
optical systems comprised of simple optics.
The ABLE ACE pupil plane imaging experiment (PPI) measured the irradiance distributions of individual pulses originating from two laser sources on the ABLE ACE transmitter aircraft and incident upon the aperture of the receiver aircraft. The laser pulses were very short, and PPI has high spatial resolution but very low temporal sampling, so the PPI data is simply a series of uncorrelated snapshots of the illuminated aperture.Form the PPI data we can compute the irradiance variance, the probability density function of irradiance, the irradiance covariance function, and the amplitude correlation function, and other irradiance statistics. These statistics can be used for comparison with theory, simulation, and other measurements, and also to estimate the strength of turbulence. The amplitude correlation function is a direct measure of the Strehl ration and optical transfer function that would be achieved with perfect phase correction; this gives us an upper bound on the performance of an actual ABL system. We have PPI data from all ABLE ACE flights, over almost all of the time the science lasers were firing. We have compared PPI results with theory, simulation, simultaneous measurements, and a previous experiment. We see good agreement on all counts.