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Astronomical Adaptive Optics.

Starting the successful project  "Mathematical algorithms and software for ELT adaptive optics" as part of the In-Kind contributions of Austria to the European Southern Observatory, opens an external URL in a new window (ESO) the Industrial Mathematics Institute of the University of Linz has gained expertise in the field of adaptive optics (AO). Various members of the institute are for different types of adaptive optics technology such as single-conjugate adaptive optics (SCAO), multi-conjugate adaptive optics (MCAO) and multi-object adaptive optics (MOAO). We are part of two instrument consortia for ESO's Extremely Large Telescope, opens an external URL in a new window (ELT), which is currently under construction: METIS, opens an external URL in a new window and MICADO, opens an external URL in a new window.

In METIS, we are reponsible for the algorithms to reconstruct the incoming wavefront from indirect measurements of light coming from a so-called guide star. This step is crucial to be able to keep the AO System stable and obtain sharp images from ground-based astronomical observations. In MICADO, we are involved in the Point Spread Function Reconstruction service, which is a post-processing tool to characterize the residual blur that remains after AO correction due to system inherent delays. Our algorithms are tested in simulation and on data obtained by existing telescopes, like ESO's Very Large Telescope, opens an external URL in a new window (VLT) on mount Paranal in Atacama desert.

Besides being part of the ELTs instrument consortia people from our institute work closely together with the company Microgate, opens an external URL in a new window located in Bolzano, Italy. Microgate is engaged in the final design and construction of the adaptive mirrors for the next generation of ELTs. People at our institute develop a Digital Twin of the electromagnetically secondary mirror, which includes the structural dynamics, its interaction with the fluid film interposed between the mirror and its reference back plate and the disturbances due to local air turbulences. This Digital Twin is used by the company to simulate the full mirror control loop. Moreover, we are working on self-tuning approaches to optimize the AO control parameters.

Image copyright: ESO