Unconventional adaptive mirrors at the University of Arizona

Michael Hart, S. Mark Ammons, Blake Coughenour, Robert Romeo

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

1 Scopus citations


We describe the construction and application of innovative deformable mirrors for adaptive optics (AO) being developed at the University of Arizona's Center for Astronomical Adaptive Optics. The mirrors are up to 1 m in diameter, with high actuator stroke, and are optically powered. Scientific motivations for the work include the detection of earthlike planets around other nearby stars, as well as non-astronomical applications such as directed energy and horizontal imaging for defense and security. We describe how high resolution imaging is delivered over an unusually wide field of view by ground-layer AO. This technique employs multiple laser guide stars to sense the instantaneous three-dimensional distribution of atmospheric turbulence. Imaging with high signal-to-noise ratio in the thermal infrared is enabled by embedding the deformable mirror directly in the telescope. We also describe recent work to develop a new generation of these mirrors with lighter weight and improved robustness by use of replicated composite materials which shows promise for greatly reducing the cost of AO and broadening its appeal, particularly for non-astronomical applications as well as for a new generation of extremely large ground-based telescopes of 30 m diameter now under construction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMicro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications IV
StatePublished - 2012
EventMicro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications IV - Baltimore, MD, United States
Duration: Apr 23 2012Apr 27 2012

Publication series

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


OtherMicro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications IV
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBaltimore, MD


  • Adaptive optics
  • Deformable mirrors
  • Ground layer adaptive optics
  • High contrast imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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