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Performance modeling of a wide-field ground-layer adaptive optics system.

Andersen, D. and Stoesz, J. and Morris, S. and Lloyd-Hart, M. and Crampton, D. and Butterley, T. and Ellerbroek, B. and Jolissaint, L. and Milton, N. M. and Myers, R. and Szeto, K. and Tokovinin, A. and Veran, J-P. and Wilson, R. (2006) 'Performance modeling of a wide-field ground-layer adaptive optics system.', Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific., 118 (849). pp. 1574-1590.


Using five independent analytic and Monte Carlo simulation codes, we have studied the performance of wide-field ground-layer adaptive optics (GLAO), which can use a single, relatively low order deformable mirror to correct the wave-front errors from the lowest altitude turbulence. GLAO concentrates more light from a point source in a smaller area on the science detector, but unlike with traditional adaptive optics, images do not become diffraction-limited. Rather, the GLAO point-spread function (PSF) has the same functional form as a seeing-limited PSF and can be characterized by familiar performance metrics such as full width at half-maximum (FWHM). The FWHM of a GLAO PSF is reduced by 0 1 or more for optical and near-infrared wavelengths over different atmospheric conditions. For the Cerro Pachón atmospheric model, this correction is even greater when the image quality is poorest, which effectively eliminates “bad seeing” nights; the best seeing-limited image quality, available only 20% of the time, can be achieved 60%–80% of the time with GLAO. This concentration of energy in the PSF will reduce required exposure times and improve the efficiency of an observatory up to 30%–40%. These performance gains are relatively insensitive to a number of trade-offs, including the exact field of view of a wide-field GLAO system, the conjugate altitude and actuator density of the deformable mirror, and the number and configuration of the guide stars.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:© 2006. The Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:20 January 2010
Date of first online publication:November 2006
Date first made open access:No date available

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