Structure function analysis of mirror fabrication and support errors

Anastacia M. Hvisc, James H. Burge

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

25 Scopus citations


Telescopes are ultimately limited by atmospheric turbulence, which is commonly characterized by a structure function. The telescope optics will not further degrade the performance if their errors are small compared to the atmospheric effects. Any further improvement to the mirrors is not economical since there is no increased benefit to performance. Typically the telescope specification is written in terms of an image size or encircled energy and is derived from the best seeing that is expected at the site. Ideally, the fabrication and support errors should never exceed atmospheric turbulence at any spatial scale, so it is instructive to look at how these errors affect the structure function of the telescope. The fabrication and support errors are most naturally described by Zernike polynomials or by bending modes for the active mirrors. This paper illustrates an efficient technique for relating this modal analysis to wavefront structure functions. Data is provided for efficient calculation of structure function given coefficients for Zernike annular polynomials. An example of this procedure for the Giant Magellan Telescope primary mirror is described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOptical Manufacturing and Testing VII
StatePublished - 2007
EventOptical Manufacturing and Testing VII - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 28 2007Aug 29 2007

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherOptical Manufacturing and Testing VII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Annular zernike polynomials
  • Atmospheric turbulence
  • Structure functions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Structure function analysis of mirror fabrication and support errors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this