Limits of adaptive optics for high-contrast imaging

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

144 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The effects of photon noise, aliasing, wave front chromaticity, and scintillation on the point-spread function (PSF) contrast achievable with ground-based adaptive optics (AO) are evaluated for different wave front sensing schemes. I show that a wave front sensor (WFS) based on the Zernike phase contrast technique offers the best sensitivity to photon noise at all spatial frequencies, while the Shack-Hartmann WFS is significantly less sensitive. In AO systems performing wave front sensing in the visible and scientific imaging in the near-IR, the PSF contrast limit is set by the scintillation chromaticity induced by Fresnel propagation through the atmosphere. On an 8 m telescope, the PSF contrast is then limited to 10 -4 to 10-5 in the central arcsecond. Wave front sensing and scientific imaging should therefore be done at the same wavelength, in which case, on bright sources, PSF contrasts between 10-6 and 10 -7 can be achieved within 1″ on an 8 m telescope in optical/near-IR. The impact of atmospheric turbulence parameters (seeing, wind speed, turbulence profile) on the PSF contrast is quantified. I show that a focal plane wave front sensing scheme offers unique advantages, and I discuss how to implement it. Coronagraphic options are also briefly discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)592-614
Number of pages23
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume629
Issue number1 I
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 10 2005
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

wave fronts
adaptive optics
point spread functions
scintillation
turbulence
telescopes
sensor
sensors
atmospheric turbulence
phase contrast
photons
point source
plane waves
wind velocity
wavelength
atmospheres
propagation
atmosphere
sensitivity
profiles

Keywords

  • Instrumentation: adaptive optics
  • Instrumentation: interferometers
  • Methods: data analysis
  • Techniques: high angular resolution
  • Techniques: interferometric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Limits of adaptive optics for high-contrast imaging. / Guyon, Olivier.

In: Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 629, No. 1 I, 10.08.2005, p. 592-614.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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