The AO188 Single Conjugate facility AO system at Subaru Telescope delivers diffraction-limited images in near-IR in natural and laser guide star modes. We have recently started a major upgrade of AO188 to fulfill the high performance requirements of its downstream instruments, including the Subaru Coronagraphic Extreme-AO. The first phase of this upgrade started in 2017 with the integration of a new real time computer (RTC) and real time system (RTS) CACAO(https://github.com/CACAO-org/CACAO), an open-source real-time software for adaptive optics developed collaboratively and used extensively by the SCExAO instrument. This major upgrade will enable loop optimization, predictive control and include diagnosis tools, therefore improving the performance and stability of AO188 and its downstream instrument module. This paper introduces the architecture of the new RTS describing the different steps we followed to adapt CACAO to our AO interfaces and aging hardware, in preparation of our first engineering tests on-sky achieved successfully on July 23rd 2018.
The Subaru Coronagraphic Extreme Adaptive Optics (SCExAO) instrument is an extremely modular high- contrast instrument installed on the Subaru telescope in Hawaii. SCExAO has a dual purpose. Its position in the northern hemisphere on a 8-meter telescope makes it a prime instrument for the detection and characterization of exoplanets and stellar environments over a large portion of the sky. In addition, SCExAO’s unique design makes it the ideal instrument to test innovative technologies and algorithms quickly in a laboratory setup and subsequently deploy them on-sky. SCExAO benefits from a first stage of wavefront correction with the facility adaptive optics AO188, and splits the 600-2400 nm spectrum towards a variety of modules, in visible and near infrared, optimized for a large range of science cases. The integral field spectrograph CHARIS, with its J, H or K-band high-resolution mode or its broadband low-resolution mode, makes SCExAO a prime instrument for exoplanet detection and characterization. Here we report on the recent developments and scientific results of the SCExAO instrument. Recent upgrades were performed on a number of modules, like the visible polarimetric module VAMPIRES, the high-performance infrared coronagraphs, various wavefront control algorithms, as well as the real-time controller of AO188. The newest addition is the 20k-pixel Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detector (MKIDS) Exoplanet Camera (MEC) that will allow for previously unexplored science and technology developments. MEC, coupled with novel photon-counting speckle control, brings SCExAO closer to the final design of future high-contrast instruments optimized for Giant Segmented Mirror Telescopes (GSMTs).
Exoplanet imaging requires excellent wavefront correction and calibration. At the Subaru telescope this is achieved us- ing the 188-element facility adaptive optics system(AO188) feeding the Subaru Coronagraphic Extreme Adaptive Optics (SCExAO) instrument; a multipurpose instrument built to deliver high contrast images of planets and disks around nearby stars. AO188 offers coarse correction while SCExAO performs fine correction and calibration of 1000 modes. The full system achieves 90%Strehl Ratio in H-band and diffraction limited images. A new Real Time Computer allowing higher performance between SCExAO and AO188 is currently implemented. Future upgrades will include a new Pyramid Wavefront Sensor and (64x64) DM to achieve extreme AO correction inside AO188. We are progressing in the development of predictive control and sensor fusion algorithms across the system to improve performance and calibration. With the new upgrades, SCExAO will be able to image giant planets in reflected light with Subaru and validate technologies necessary to image habitable Earth-like planets with the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).