Incorporating higher-order modal measurements in tilt estimation: Natural and laser guide star applications

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Tilt compensation performance is generally suboptimal when phase measurements from natural or laser guide stars are used as the conjugate phase in an adaptive optics system. Optimal compensation is obtained when the conjugate-phase coefficients are estimated from beacon measurements, given knowledge of the correlation between the on-axis object phase and the beacon measurements. We apply optimal compensation theory to tilt correction for the case of an off-axis beacon. Because off-axis higher-order modes are correlated with the on-axis tilt components, a performance gain can be realized when the tilt estimator includes higher-order modal measurements. For natural guide star compensation, it is shown that equivalent tilt compensation can be achieved at beacon offsets that are three times larger when higher-order modes through Zernike 15 are used in the tilt estimator. For a laser guide star, although tilt information cannot be measured directly because of beam reciprocity, off-axis higherorder modal measurements can be used to estimate tilt components, leading to a maximum Strehl ratio of approximately 0.3 for the relative aperture diameter D/r0 = 4 and the relative turbulence outer scale L0/D = 10. © 1998 Optical Society of America.

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Applied Optics