Experimental results of ground-layer and tomographic wavefront reconstruction from multiple laser guide stars

  • Michael Hart (Creator)
  • Christoph Baranec (Creator)
  • N. Mark Milton (Contributor)
  • Miguel Snyder (Creator)
  • Thomas Stalcup (Creator)



We describe results from the first multi-laser wavefront sensing system designed to support tomographic modes of adaptive optics (AO). The system, now operating at the 6.5 m MMT telescope in Arizona, creates five beacons by Rayleigh scattering of laser beams at 532 nm integrated over a range from 20 to 29 km by dynamic refocus of the telescope optics. The return light is analyzed by a Shack-Hartmann sensor that places all five beacons on a single detector, with electronic shuttering to implement the beacon range gate. A separate high-order Shack-Hartmann sensor records simultaneous measurements of wavefronts from a natural star. From open-loop measurements, we find the average beacon wavefront gives a good estimate of ground layer aberration. We present results of full tomographic wavefront analysis, enabled by supplementing the laser data with simultaneous fast image motion measurements from three stars in the field. We describe plans for an early demonstration at the MMT of closed-loop ground layer AO, and later tomographic AO.
Date made available2006

Cite this