Optical field/pupil rotator with a novel compact K-mirror for MagAO-X

Alexander D. Hedglen, Laird M Close, Jared R. Males, Olivier Durney

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The Magellan Extreme Adaptive Optics (MagAO-X) is a visible-wavelength adaptive optics (AO) instrument optimized for visible light coronagraphy and exoplanet imaging with the 6.5-m Magellan Clay telescope in Chile. Extremely large telescopes such as the future Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) will be able to image earth-like exoplanets, given an extreme AO system - such as MagAO-X - exists. MagAO-X is now under development in the lab and undergoing final integration and testing. Technical first light is planned for early 2019, with final commissioning in late 2020. A crucial component to MagAO-X is the "K-mirror," a 3-mirror system designed to rotate the optical field with minimal image wobble or distortion about the optical axis. The K-mirror rotates on a miniature motorized stage to stabilize the pupil in the coronagraph as the telescope tracks the sky. The optical design of MagAO-X required a very compact K-mirror, resulting in a challenging opto-mechanical mount design. We present a novel solution to the compact design of a 50mm max envelope K-mirror for MagAO-X that consists of three < 1-in diameter flat mirrors, all precision glued in place. The K-mirror mount was designed in Autodesk® Fusion 360™ and a prototype was built in the Steward Observatory machine shop. Using inexpensive COTS mirrors, the K-mirror prototype was tested, aligned, and glued with optical feedback in the lab. Once the prototype had proven successful, a final K-mirror mount was fabricated and assembled with invar and precision (0.1nm rms surface roughness, super polished, λ/40 PV flat) mirrors to develop a compact Kmirror for MagAO-X. The performance of the final hardware is presented here.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdaptive Optics Systems VI
EditorsDirk Schmidt, Laura Schreiber, Laird M. Close
ISBN (Print)9781510619593
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
EventAdaptive Optics Systems VI 2018 - Austin, United States
Duration: Jun 10 2018Jun 15 2018


OtherAdaptive Optics Systems VI 2018
CountryUnited States


  • adaptive optics
  • AO
  • exoplanets
  • extreme
  • K-mirror
  • pupil rotator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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  • Cite this

    Hedglen, A. D., Close, L. M., Males, J. R., & Durney, O. (2018). Optical field/pupil rotator with a novel compact K-mirror for MagAO-X. In D. Schmidt, L. Schreiber, & L. M. Close (Eds.), Adaptive Optics Systems VI (Vol. 10703). [1070355] SPIE. https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2312346