LINC-NIRVANA: mechanical challanges of the MCAO wavefront sensor

Physics – Optics

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Scientific paper

Several multi-conjugate adaptive optics (MCAO) systems using the layer-oriented approach are under construction and will soon be tested at different facilities in several instruments. One of these instruments is LINC-NIRVANA, a Fizeau interferometer for the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT). This instrument uses a ground layer wavefront sensor (GWS) and a combined mid-high layer wavefront sensor (MHWS) with different fields of view (concept of multiple field of view), a 2-6 arcmin annular ring for the GWS and a 2 arcmin diameter central field of view for the MHWS. Both sensors are Pyramid wavefront sensors which optically co-add light from multiple natural guide stars. The opto-mechanical problems concerning these sensors are related to the fast focal ratio of the beam on the pyramids coupled with the available pixelscale of detectors. This leads to very tight requirements on the moving systems (linear stages) for the star enlargers (SE) used to pick off the light of individual stars. As there are 40 star enlargers in the overall system, additional efforts were put into the alignment system of the optics of the star enlargers and the reduction in size of the star enlargers to minimize the distance between available guide stars.

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