Optical correction of space-based telescopes using a deformable mirror system
Mueller, Mark C.
Kim, Jae Jun
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Adaptive optics offer the potential to reduce the high cost and long lead time associated with manufacturing mirrors for spaced-based telescopes by allowing lighter materials to be substituted. These lighter materials lack the optical performance of traditional space-based mirrors. Deformable mirrors could be used to correct for surface aberrations in order to improve the optical quality by altering their surface to adjust the wavefront. Research focused on placing a deformable mirror at the exit pupil of a simulated telescope. Experimental work first studied a severely degraded one-meter carbon fiber reinforced polymer mirror to establish a baseline. Simulations were conducted to see how a notional deformable mirror would be able to negate the optical effects due to a distorted mirror in combination with field angle effects. Results from the investigation showed that a deformable mirror yielded the greatest benefit when applied to a distorted mirror surface. Increasing the actuator count on the deformable mirror boosted the root mean square performance across all field angles. Increasing the actuator stroke yielded minimal benefits after a certain reduction in wavefront had already been achieved. Further research is recommended to focus on using a continuous deformable mirror to account for field angle effects.
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