Improving optical imaging of dim SSA targets with simplified adaptive optics systems

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


A detailed wave-optics simulation is used to explore the trade space between image post-processing and adaptive optics complexity for improved imaging of low SNR targets using ground-based optical systems. Supercomputing hardware is used to generate a massive number of simulated SSA observation scenarios with varied observing conditions and hardware configurations. Multi-frame blind deconvolution converts the simulated images into high-resolution products that are automatically scored for quality. With target-based guide stars and Maui conditions, it is found that significant reductions in adaptive optics actuator and subaperture density can result in improved imaging of dimmer objects. Elimination of adaptive optics altogether produces sub-optimal results for all of the dim-object cases considered. The views, opinions, and/or findings expressed are those of the author(s) and should not be interpreted as representing the official views or policies of the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.

Publication Title

IEEE Aerospace Conference Proceedings