OPTICON FP7 (2013-2016) WP1 - Towards AO for the E-ELT

WP leader: Jean-Luc Beuzit(CNRS)

Adaptive optics (AO) systems, using both natural and laser guide stars, are key technologies for the next major advances in ground-based optical-IR astronomy. The primary goal of workpackage 1 is to develop the technologies and the knowledge required to improve the performance and operational efficiency of existing AO facilities in Europe, as well as to develop the state of the art instrumentation required for the next generation of European astronomical facilities, i.e. the 40m European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). The significant progress made over the past 10 years in the field of AO has brought this observational technique to the maturity level where outstanding astronomical results can today be obtained routinely.

Astronomers are now looking toward the next generation of AO systems, which will allow them to extend this powerful technique to new observing modes (e.g. large field AO-assisted cameras and multi-object spectrographs to study the large scale structures of the Universe together with very high contrast imaging, spectroscopy and polarimetry to search for and characterize extra-solar planets, etc.). Such ambitious scientific objectives clearly increase the system complexity of future instruments, which in turn will require further development of critical technologies, for example higher order deformable mirrors, faster real-time computers, Laser Guide Star wavefront techniques to cope with ELT specific challenges, better calibration/on-line control techniques and more efficient operation. Simulations, laboratory and on-sky demonstrations will be a significant part of the work plan of this WP, with the aim of implementing these new concepts and technologies on existing European facilities: VLT, WHT, etc. The work programme will explore both new technology avenues where promising and builds on recognised FP6/FP7 technology highlights and successes

Link to the WP1 website is here (note this site is password protected)