Efficient Drive Electronics for Deformable Mirrors of Telescope Adaptive Optics Systems

Date

2013-04-30

Authors

Niebergal, Joel

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Abstract

This thesis deals with the design and experimental validation of Deformable Mirror Electronics (DME) for Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) Adaptive Optics (AO) applications. Modern ground based telescopes achieve their best possible imaging resolution through the application of AO. However, due to the fundamental diffraction of optical elements, the next generation of ELTs will employ primary mirrors of an increasingly large diameter as the final means of improving imaging resolution further. The corresponding increase in diameter and actuator count of the Deformable Mirrors (DMs) in these systems has led to the rapid development of high order DM technology. A significant challenge to operating these multi-thousand channel DMs is related to the DM Electronics (DME), which are required to be highly efficient so-as to operate within practical budgetary constraints. This thesis develops a DME reference design based on the requirements for the Thirty Meter Telescope’s next generation AO system, the Narrow Field Infrared Adaptive Optics System (NFIRAOS), which operates two DMs with a total of 7673 piezoelectric actuators. The basis of the DME is the DM actuator driver, which has been developed to be suitable for very high order reproduction by optimization of its size, power, cost and reliability. A complication is that the piezoelectric actuators in NFIRAOS DMs require high voltage drive signals of ±400 V to obtain the rated stroke and must be current limited to avoid damage. Candidate amplifiers are evaluated in simulation and hardware based on a combination of performance, physical and functional criteria; with the most suitable circuit chosen for a multi-channel prototype implementation and testing with a DM breadboard prototype. The development and optimization of an amplifier capable of meeting NFIRAOS performance criteria and budgetary constraints is demonstrated.

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Keywords

deformable mirror, adaptive optics, piezoelectric actuator, electronics

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