Advanced adaptive-optics (AO) systems will likely utilize pyramid wavefront sensors (PWFSs) over the traditional Shack–Hartmann sensor in the quest for increased sensitivity, peak performance and ultimate contrast. Here, we explain and quantify the PWFS theoretical limits as a means to highlight its properties and applications. We explore forward models for the PWFS in the spatial-frequency domain: these prove useful because (i) they emanate directly from physical-optics (Fourier) diffraction theory; (ii) they provide a straightforward path to meaningful error breakdowns; (iii) they allow for reconstruction algorithms with $O (n\, \log(n))$ complexity for large-scale systems; and (iv) they tie in seamlessly with decoupled (distributed) optimal predictive dynamic control for performance and contrast optimization. All these aspects are dealt with here. We focus on recent analytical PWFS developments and demonstrate the performance using both analytic and end-to-end simulations. We anchor our estimates on observed on-sky contrast on existing systems, and then show very good agreement between analytical and Monte Carlo performance estimates on AO systems featuring the PWFS. For a potential upgrade of existing high-contrast imagers on 10-m-class telescopes with visible or near-infrared PWFSs, we show, under median conditions at Paranal, a contrast improvement (limited by chromatic and scintillation effects) of 2×–5× when just replacing the wavefront sensor at large separations close to the AO control radius where aliasing dominates, and of factors in excess of 10× by coupling distributed control with the PWFS over most of the AO control region, from small separations starting with an inner working angle of typically 1–2 λ/D to the AO correction edge (here 20 λ/D).
Predictive wavefront control is an important and rapidly developing field of adaptive optics (AO). Through the prediction of future wavefront effects, the inherent AO system servo-lag caused by the measurement, computation, and application of the wavefront correction can be significantly mitigated. This lag can impact the final delivered science image, including reduced strehl and contrast, and inhibits our ability to reliably use faint guidestars. We summarize here a novel method for training deep neural networks for predictive control based on an adversarial prior. Unlike previous methods in the literature, which have shown results based on previously generated data or for open-loop systems, we demonstrate our network’s performance simulated in closed loop. Our models are able to both reduce effects induced by servo-lag and push the faint end of reliable control with natural guidestars, improving K-band Strehl performance compared to classical methods by over 55% for 16th magnitude guide stars on an 8-meter telescope. We further show that LSTM based approaches may be better suited in high-contrast scenarios where servo-lag error is most pronounced, while traditional feed forward models are better suited for high noise scenarios. Finally, we discuss future strategies for implementing our system in real-time and on astronomical telescope systems.
The scientific potential of the ELT will rely on the performance of its AO systems that will require to be perfectly calibrated before and during the operations. The actual design of the ELT will provide a constraining environment for the calibration and new strategies have to be developed to overcome these constraints. This will be particularly true concerning the Interaction Matrix of the system with no calibration source upward M4 and moving elements in the telescope. After a brief presentation of the ELT specificities for the calibration, this communication focuses on the different strategies that have already been developed to get/measure the Interaction Matrix of the system, either based on synthetic models or using on-sky measurements. First tests of these methods have been done using numerical simulations for a simple AO system and a proposition for a calibration strategy of the ELT will be presented.
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