Dissertation Defense: Kyle Van Gorkom, "Characterization and Modeling of Deformable Mirrors for Extreme Adaptive Optics"

    Date: 
    Friday, October 15, 2021 - 2:00pm - 5:00pm
    Location: 
    Zoom
    Registration: 

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    https://arizona.zoom.us/j/81795922809

    Password: 410583

    Join Zoom Meeting

    https://arizona.zoom.us/j/81795922809

    Password: 410583

    Abstract(s): 

    In the next decade, multiple extremely large telescopes (ELTs) with the capability to directly image earth-like planets around other stars will begin operations. These planets are much fainter than their host stars, and successful detection and characterization will require extreme adaptive optics (ExAO) systems capable of creating and maintaining extremely high contrast regions in the focal plane (dark holes), in spite of atmospheric turbulence. To perform the wavefront correction needed to dig these dark holes, these systems will rely on deformable mirrors (DMs) with >10,000 actuators run at several kHz. The calibration and optimization of these DMs will be a key challenge to overcome to maximize the performance of these instruments.

    In this dissertation, we report the characterization of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and compact voice coil DMs for MagAO-X, a new ExAO system for the 6.5 m Magellan Clay telescope in Chile and pathfinder for the future Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) ExAO instrument. We implement a number of focal-plane wavefront control strategies that use these integrated DMs to optimize the MagAO-X wavefront for high contrast imaging. Finally, we develop a model to capture the dynamics of the DM facesheet, employ estimation techniques to calibrate it against a MagAO-X DM,  and integrate it with an AO simulation to assess the impact of DM dynamics on AO performance.