AuthorJohnson, Robert L.
AdvisorAngel, Roger P.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation describes the development, calibration, and testing of the adaptive optics system for the 6.5 m Multiple Mirror Telescope. By employing a deformable secondary mirror, the MMT adaptive optics system uniquely solves several problems typical of astronomical adaptive optics systems. Extra components are eliminated, improving throughput and reducing emissivity. Since the adaptive secondary is integral to the telescope, a corrected beam is presented to any instrument mounted at Cassegrain focus. The testing of an adaptive mirror, which is large and convex, poses a new and difficult problem. I present a test apparatus that allows complete calibration and operation, in closed-loop, of the entire adaptive optics system in the laboratory. The test apparatus replicates the optical path of the telescope with a wavefront error of less than 500 nm RMS. To simulate atmospheric turbulence, machined acrylic plates are included. A phase-shifting interferometer allows calibration of the Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor and reconstruction algorithms; comparisons agree to one-third of the root-mean-square wavefront. First, techniques were developed to align the apparatus and measure residual aberration. Then, the wavefront sensor was calibrated by measuring its response to introduced tilt. Lastly, a Fourier wave-optics approach was used to produce a modal wavefront reconstructor. The adaptive secondary mirror uses electro-magnetic force actuators. Capacitive position sensors are placed at each actuator to permit control of the mirror shape without measuring the reflected wavefront. These sensors have nanometer resolution, but require calibration. To calibrate the sensors, I developed a small optical instrument which measures the thickness of transparent films to an absolute accuracy of 5 nm with a precision of 2 nm. The device has applications far beyond the scope of this research. Twenty-four of these optical gap sensors have been built to calibrate the 336 capacitive sensors on the adaptive secondary mirror. Mirror displacements measured using gap sensors and a phase-shifting interferometer agree to 2 percent of the displacement. The gap sensors allow for quick and accurate calibration of the capacitive sensors without the difficulty of installing an interferometer on the telescope.
Degree ProgramGraduate College