We present the development and testing of focal plane wavefront control techniques that utilize microwave kinetic inductance detectors (MKIDs) as a focal plane IFU. MKIDs are ideally suited to this application, as they are energy resolving, and have single photon sensitivity, zero read noise, and microsecond time resolution. These characteristics enable much higher feedback rates than conventional systems; for the first time, focal plane measurements may be used to correct atmospheric aberrations in addition to quasistatics. A variety of approaches are under development, including conventional speckle nulling, as well as more advanced approaches such as linear dark field control.
We have developed an MKID-specific speckle nulling code for DARKNESS, a 10,000 pixel MKID IFU behind the stellar double coronagraph (SDC) and PALM-3000 (P3K) AO system at Palomar observatory. Our code implements the algorithm described in (Bottom, et. al, 2016) with minor modifications. To facilitate high feedback rates on sky, the code is optimized for computational speed, and implements low-latency communications to both P3K and the MKID readout. It is also capable of integrating with P3K in closed loop operation. Using our code, we have demonstrated quasi-static speckle nulling at a 1 Hz feedback rate in the laboratory. We hope to demonstrate rates ~10-100 Hz in the near future.
In addition to continuing our work with DARKNESS, we will adapt our code to MEC, a 20,000 pixel MKID IFU behind the Subaru coronagraphic extreme adaptive optics system (SCExAO) at Subaru observatory. MEC is scheduled to commission in January 2018.