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4 February 2003 Infrared Optimized AO System for a 15 - 20m Class Telescope
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Despite the relatively large number of proposed 'extremely large telescopes' very few of them concentrate on the thermal infrared as their main operating wavelengths. An IR-optimized large telescope located in the Atacama dessert at about 5500m altitude, where many atmospheric windows in the mid-IR open up, would be ideal to study astronomical targets that are either intrinsically red or heavily obscured by dust. A large aperture in the order of 15 - 20m requires adaptive optics correction out to λ⩽20 μm with the least possible thermal emission from the instrument itself. Here we discuss a specialized, integrated AO system that provides diffraction-limited performance in the thermal infrared (at λ⩾2.5 μm). This approach is very different from the AO systems proposed for other 10m+ class telescopes. We present the basic concept of such an IR-optimized AO system, based on a 2m chopping adaptive secondary. We derive its technical specifications: configuration, bandwidth, and degrees of freedom show its predicted performance for typical seeing in terms of Strehl ratio as a function of limiting guide star magnitude, wavelength and corrected field-of-view. We also briefly address the science that this AO system/telescope would be ideal for.
© (2003) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Bernhard Rainer Brandl, Stephen S. Eikenberry, Terry L. Herter, and Jayant Kulkarni "Infrared Optimized AO System for a 15 - 20m Class Telescope", Proc. SPIE 4837, Large Ground-based Telescopes, (4 February 2003);


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