Characterizing deformable mirrors for the MagAO-X instrument

Kyle Van Gorkom, Jared R. Males, Laird M. Close, Jennifer Lumbres, Alex Hedglen, Joseph D. Long, Sebastiaan Y. Haffert, Olivier Guyon, Maggie Kautz, Lauren Schatz, Kelsey Miller, Alexander T. Rodack, Justin M. Knight, Katie M. Morzinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The MagAO-X instrument is an extreme adaptive optics system for high-contrast imaging at visible- and near-infrared wavelengths on the Magellan Clay Telescope. A central component of this system is a 2040-actuator microelectromechanical deformable mirror (DM) from Boston Micromachines Corp. that operates at 3.63 kHz for high-order wavefront control (the tweeter). Two additional DMs from ALPAO perform the low-order (the woofer) and non-common-path science-arm wavefront correction (the NCPC DM). Prior to integration with the instrument, we characterized these devices using a Zygo Verifire Interferometer to measure each DM surface. We present the results of the characterization effort here, demonstrating the ability to drive the tweeter to a flat of 6.9 nm root-mean-square (RMS) surface (and 0.56 nm RMS surface within its control bandwidth), the woofer to 2.2-nm RMS surface, and the NCPC DM to 2.1-nm RMS surface over the MagAO-X beam footprint on each device. Using focus-diversity phase retrieval on the MagAO-X science cameras to estimate the internal instrument wavefront error, we further show that the integrated DMs correct the instrument WFE to 18.7 nm RMS, which, combined with a 11.7% pupil amplitude RMS, produces a Strehl ratio of 0.94 at Hα.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number039001
JournalJournal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021


  • adaptive optics
  • deformable mirrors
  • high-contrast imaging
  • phase retrieval
  • wavefront control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Instrumentation
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterizing deformable mirrors for the MagAO-X instrument'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this