Electro-Multiplying CCDs offer a unique combination of speed, sub-electron noise and quantum efficiency. These features make them extremely attractive for astronomical adaptive optics. The SOUL project selected the Ocam2k from FLI as camera upgrade for the pyramid wavefront sensor of the LBT SCAO systems. Here we present results from the laboratory characterization of the 3 of the custom Ocam2k cameras for the SOUL project. The cameras showed very good noise (0.4e- and 0.4 - 0.7e- for binned modes) and dark current values (1.5e-). We measured the camera gain and identified the dependency on power cycle and frame rate. Finally, we estimated the impact of these gain variation in the SOUL adaptive optics system. The impact on the SOUL performance resulted to be negligible.
ERIS is the new AO instrument for VLT-UT4 led by a Consortium of Max-Planck Institut fuer Extraterrestrische Physik, UK-ATC, ETH-Zurich, NOVA-Leiden, ESO and INAF. The ERIS AO system provides NGS mode to deliver high contrast correction and LGS mode to extend high Strehl performance to large sky coverage. The AO module includes NGS and LGS wavefront sensors and, with VLT-AOF Deformable Secondary Mirror and Laser Facility, will provide AO correction to the high resolution coronagraphic imager NIX (1-5um) and the IFU spectrograph SPIFFIER (1-2.5um). In this paper, we present the final design of the ERIS AO system and the status of the of current MAIV phase.
ARGOS is the Ground Layer Adaptive Optics system of the Large Binocular Telescope, it uses three Laser Guide Stars, generated by Rayleigh backscattered light of pulsed lasers. Three Shack-Hartmann WFS measure the wavefront distortion in the Ground Layer. The SLOpe Detection And Ranging (SLODAR) is a method used to measure the turbulence profiles. Cross correlation of wavefronts gradient from multiple stars is used to estimate the relative strengths of turbulent layers at different altitudes. We present here the results on sky of the SLODAR profile on ARGOS.
One year and an half after ARGOS first light, the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) laser guided ground-layer adaptive optics (GLAO) system has been operated on both sides of the LBT. The system fulfills the GLAO promise and typically delivers an improvement by a factor of 2 in FWHM over the 4'×4' field of view of both Luci instruments, the two near-infrared imagers and multi-object spectrographs.
In this paper, we report on the first on-sky results and analyze the performances based on the data collected so far. We also discuss adaptive optics procedures and the joint operations with Luci for science observations.
ARGOS is the Ground Layer Adaptive Optics system of the Large Binocular Telescope, it uses three Laser Guide Stars at 12 km altitude, generated by Rayleigh backscattered light of pulsed Nd:YAG lasers at 532nm. The wavefront distortion in the Ground Layer is measured by three Shack-Hartmann WFS, sampling with 15×15 subaperture the three LGS arranged on a single CCD with 8×8px per square subaperture. The SLOpe Detection And Ranging (SLODAR) is a method used to measure the turbulence profiles. Cross correlation of wavefronts gradient from multiple stars is used to estimate the relative strengths of turbulent layers at different altitudes. In the ARGOS case the LGS are arranged on a triangle inscribed in a 2 arcmin radius circle, so we expect an effective slopes correlation up to 5km altitude. We present here the results of a study aimed to implement the SLODAR method on ARGOS performed with the idl-based simulation code used to characterize the ARGOS performance. Simulation implements the atmospheric turbulence on different layers with variable strength, altitude and wind speed. The algorithm performance are evaluated comparing the input turbulence with the cross-correlation of the SH slopes acquired in open loop.
We present the results of the laboratory characterization of the ARGOS LGS wavefront sensor (LGSW) and dichroic units. ARGOS is the laser guide star adaptive optics system of the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT). It implements a Ground Layer Adaptive Optics (GLAO) correction for LUCI, an infrared imager and multi-object spectrograph (MOS), using 3 pulsed Rayleigh beacons focused at 12km altitude. The LGSW is a Shack-Hartman sensor having 15 × 15 subaspertures over the telescope pupil. Each LGS is independently stabilized for on-sky jitter and gated to reduce spot elongation. The 3 LGS pupils are stabilized to compensate mechanical flexure and are arranged on a single detector. Two units of LGSW have been produced and tested at Arcetri Observatory. We report on the results obtained in the pre-shipment laboratory test: internal active flexure compensation loop performance, optomechanical stability under different gravity conditions, thermal cycling, Pockels cells performance. We also update on the upcoming installation and commissioning campaign at LBT.
Argos is the ground-layer adaptive optics system for the Large Binocular Telescope. In order to perform its wide-field correction, Argos uses three laser guide stars which sample the atmospheric turbulence. To perform the correction, Argos has at disposal three different wavefront sensing measurements : its three laser guide stars, a NGS tip-tilt, and a third wavefront sensor. We present the wavefront sensing architecture and its individual components, in particular: the finalized Argos pnCCD camera detecting the 3 laser guide stars at 1kHz, high quantum efficiency and 4e- noise; the Argos tip-tilt sensor based on a quad-cell avalanche photo-diodes; and the Argos wavefront computer. Being in the middle of the commissioning, we present the first wavefront sensing configurations and operations performed at LBT, and discuss further improvements in the measurements of the 3 laser guide star slopes as detected by the pnCCD.
ARGOS is the Laser Guide Star and Wavefront sensing facility for the Large Binocular Telescope. With first laser light on sky in 2013, the system is currently undergoing commissioning at the telescope. We present the overall status and design, as well as first results on sky. Aiming for a wide field ground layer correction, ARGOS is designed as a multi- Rayleigh beacon adaptive optics system. A total of six powerful pulsed lasers are creating the laser guide stars in constellations above each of the LBTs primary mirrors. With a range gated detection in the wavefront sensors, and the adaptive correction by the deformable secondary’s, we expect ARGOS to enhance the image quality over a large range of seeing conditions. With the two wide field imaging and spectroscopic instruments LUCI1 and LUCI2 as receivers, a wide range of scientific programs will benefit from ARGOS. With an increased resolution, higher encircled energy, both imaging and MOS spectroscopy will be boosted in signal to noise by a large amount. Apart from the wide field correction ARGOS delivers in its ground layer mode, we already foresee the implementation of a hybrid Sodium with Rayleigh beacon combination for a diffraction limited AO performance.
Commissioning time for an instrument at an observatory is precious, especially the night time. Whenever
astronomers come up with a software feature request or point out a software defect, the software engineers have
the task to find a solution and implement it as fast as possible. In this project phase, the software engineers
work under time pressure and stress to deliver a functional instrument control software (ICS). The shortness of
development time during commissioning is a constraint for software engineering teams and applies to the ARGOS
project as well. The goal of the ARGOS (Advanced Rayleigh guided Ground layer adaptive Optics System)
project is the upgrade of the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) with an adaptive optics (AO) system consisting
of six Rayleigh laser guide stars and wavefront sensors. For developing the ICS, we used the technique Test-
Driven Development (TDD) whose main rule demands that the programmer writes test code before production
code. Thereby, TDD can yield a software system, that grows without defects and eases maintenance. Having
applied TDD in a calm and relaxed environment like office and laboratory, the ARGOS team has profited from
the benefits of TDD. Before the commissioning, we were worried that the time pressure in that tough project
phase would force us to drop TDD because we would spend more time writing test code than it would be worth.
Despite this concern at the beginning, we could keep TDD most of the time also in this project phase
This report describes the practical application and performance of TDD including its benefits, limitations
and problems during the ARGOS commissioning. Furthermore, it covers our experience with pair programming
and continuous integration at the telescope.