11 Facts About Adaptive optics


Adaptive optics is a technology used to improve the performance of optical systems by reducing the effect of incoming wavefront distortions by deforming a mirror in order to compensate for the distortion.

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Adaptive optics was first envisioned by Horace W Babcock in 1953, and was considered in science fiction, as in Poul Anderson's novel Tau Zero, but it did not come into common usage until advances in computer technology during the 1990s made the technique practical.

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Some initial development work on adaptive optics was done by the US military during the Cold War and was intended for use in tracking Soviet satellites.

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Microelectromechanical systems deformable mirrors and magnetics concept deformable mirrors are currently the most widely used technology in wavefront shaping applications for adaptive optics given their versatility, stroke, maturity of technology and the high resolution wavefront correction that they afford.

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Simplest form of adaptive optics is tip–tilt correction, which corresponds to correction of the tilts of the wavefront in two dimensions .

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An adaptive optics system tries to correct these distortions, using a wavefront sensor which takes some of the astronomical light, a deformable mirror that lies in the optical path, and a computer that receives input from the detector.

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Adaptive optics was first applied to flood-illumination retinal imaging to produce images of single cones in the living human eye.

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Adaptive optics is used for solar astronomy at observatories such as the Swedish 1-m Solar Telescope and Big Bear Solar Observatory.

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Adaptive optics has been used to enhance the performance of classical and quantum free-space optical communication systems, and to control the spatial output of optical fibers.

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Also the development of Adaptive Optics Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope has enabled correcting for the aberrations of the wavefront that is reflected from the human retina and to take diffraction limited images of the human rods and cones.

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Development of an Adaptive optics Scanning Optical Microscope was announced by Thorlabs in April 2007.

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