Gemini Preprint #62

Principles, Limitations and Performance of Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics

F. J. Rigaut, B. L. Ellerbroek and R. Flicker
Gemini Observatory, 670 N. A'Ohoku Place, Hilo, Hawaii 96720, USA


Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics (MCAO) holds the promise of moderate to large adaptively compensated field of view with uniform image quality. This paper is a first effort to analyse the fundamental limitations of such systems, and that are mainly related to the finite number of deformable mirrors and guide stars. We demonstrate that the ultimate limitation is due to the vertical discretization of the correction. This effect becomes more severe quite rapidly with increasing compensated field of view or decreasing wavelength, but does not depend at first order on the telescope aperture. We also discuss limitations associated with the use of laser guide stars and ELT related issues.

To appear in Proc. SPIE 4007, "Adaptive Optical Systems Technology".

Download the PS or PDF file.

Ruth A. Kneale / / August 23, 2000