This paper describes the design, status, and test program for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) Primary Mirror Subsystem (M1). It consists of the mirror cells, positioning system, support systems, and thermal control system. The seven 8.4m mirror segments are excluded from this paper because they are considered a separate subsystem of the M1 System.
The M1 Subsystem leverages heritage design of similar telescope systems; for example, the Magellan telescopes and the Large Binocular Telescope. The M1 Subsystem incorporates pneumatic force actuators, hardpoints, and a thermal control ventilation system.
Design developments have been introduced to address the challenging levels of performance and unique requirements needed by the GMT telescope. Imaging goals necessitate an increase in mirror support performance, figure control, and higher-levels of thermal control. Additionally, there are challenges associated with matching and tracking the relative position of the seven mirror segments for mirror phasing. The design of the static support system needs to protect the mirrors from loads transmitted through the structure during an earthquake. Finally, the telescope design with interchangeable off-axis mirror cells necessitate mirror cells and support components that function under any range of gravitational vector orientations
. A full-scale Test Cell prototype is being constructed including production versions of mirror cell components to test and validate the M1 subsystem design. A Mirror Simulator will be used with the Test Cell to validate the M1 Control System. Later, a primary mirror segment will be used with the Test Cell to perform optical tests at the University of Arizona.
We describe the advantages of a nulling coronagraph instrument behind a single aperture space telescope for detection and spectroscopy of Earth-like extrasolar planets in visible light. Our concept synthesizes a nulling interferometer by shearing the telescope pupil into multiple beams. They are recombined with a pseudo-achromatic pi-phase shift in one arm to produce a deep null on-axis, attenuating the starlight, while simultaneously transmitting the off-axis planet light. Our nulling configuration includes methods to mitigate stellar leakage, such as spatial filtering by a coherent array of single mode fibers, balancing amplitude and phase with a segmented deformable mirror, and post-starlight suppression wavefront sensing and control. With diffraction limited telescope optics and similar quality components in the optical train (λ/20), suppression of the starlight to 10-10 is readily achievable. We describe key features of the architecture and analysis, present the status of key experiments to demonstrate wide bandwidth null depth, and present the status of component technology development.
Researches have suggested several techniques (ie.: pupil masking, coronography, nulling interferometry) for high contrast imaging that permit the direct detection and characterization of extrasolar planets. Our team at JPL, in previous papers, has described an instrument that will combine the best of several of these techniques: a single aperture visible nulling corograph. The elegant simplicity of this design enables a powerful planet-imaging instrument at modest cost. The heart of this instrument is the visible light nulling interferometer for producing deep, achromatic nulls over a wide optical band pass, and a coherent array of single mode optical fibers 2 that is key to suppressing the level of scattered light. Both of these key components are currently being developed and have
produced intial results. This paper will review, in detail, the design of the nulling interferometer experiment and review the latest experimental results. These results illustrate that we are well on our way to developing the fundamental components necessary for planned mission. Likewise, our results demonstrate that the current nulling levels are already consistent with final requirements.