Lessons learned with the Active Phasing Experiment: comparison of four optical phasing sensors on a segmented Very Large Telescope
European Southern Observatory, Garching, Germany
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The adaptive optics capabilities are strongly limited by the quality of the phasing of the primary mirror of the extremely large telescope. Up to date, the Keck telescopes are the only segmented telescope phased with a quality enabling the application of adaptive optics. The Active Phasing Experiment has been installed at the Namyth focus of the Very Large Telescope Melipal during the last 6 months. Its purpose is to understand and compare different technological concepts for an optical phasing sensor dedicated to the European Extremely Large Telescope. The pupil of the telescope is segmented in 61 hexagonal segments by projecting it on an Active Segmented Mirror. The ASM is controlled by a dual wavenlength interferometer made by Fogale Nanotech with a nanometric precision. The segmented pupil is distributed in parallel to four optical phasing sensors. They are a pyramid sensor, a curvature sensor, a phase filtering sensor and a ShackHartmann sensor. They have been developed respectively by Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica in Florenze, Instituto Astrofisica Canarias in Tenerife, Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille and ESO. The global behaviour of the optical phasing sensors will be described and preliminary results of the Active Phasing Experiments obtained on sky will be explained. The extrapolation of the results to the EELT and the potential consequences for the adaptive optics will be given. The Active Phasing Experiment has been financed by the European Union and the European Southern Observatory via the Sixth European Union Framework Program for Research and Technological Development under the contract number 011863.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2010