Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Assembly of a large common mount astronomical interferometer
by Kim, Jihun, Ph.D., The University of Arizona, 2013, 254; 3559991
Abstract (Summary)

A large multi-aperture telescope has the potential to reach the diffraction limit corresponding to its baseline. To do so, Adaptive Optics (AO) and beam combination are critical to good performance. Operation as an interferometer is a complicated mode for the telescope. The system now has much tighter tolerances and is difficult to align. The alignment process needs to be planned in multiple steps, and tolerance and sensitivity analysis needs to be performed for each step. Alignment tools can be prepared based on the resolution found in the sensitivity analysis in each step.

Random fluctuation is another critical factor that reduces system performance. If noise sources near the telescope are characterized and identified, image quality can be improved by post-image processing.

Measuring the outer scale of atmosphere is also helpful for understanding the system performance. The fringe tracking method in the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI) system provides optical path difference (OPD) variation, and the power spectral density of the OPD variation is used to estimate the size of the outer scale. However, this method is limited by the baseline of the LBTI by 5[special characters omitted] B, where B is the baseline, and by this equation the outer scale size which is able to be estimated should be more than 125 m.

AO simulation can provide an understanding of new AO system concepts and parameter variations before they are applied to the real system. In this dissertation study, we simulated an LBTI system with structural vibration of 10 Hz and 20 Hz and with various amplitudes. From the simulation, we learned that the slower bandwidth of piston-correcting systems allows stars as faint as ~13the magnitude to be observed. If there is significant vibration on the structure, the increased bandwidth will limit the phasing stars to 10~11th magnitudes. This demonstrates the limits of the LBTI system regarding structural vibration.

An alternative phasing sensor for the LBTI system, the pseudo phasing sensor, can be used for more than 1000 m of outer scale of atmosphere. If the direct phasing sensor embedded in the LBTI system cannot be used for a very faint star, the pseudo phasing sensor, which approximately estimates the phase difference by AO wavefront sensor, can be useful for atmospheric conditions with estimated outer scale of about 1000 m.

The analyses in this dissertation provide a partial guide for developing large-scale telescopes and astronomical instruments.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hinz, Philip
Commitee: Burge, James, Codona, Johanan, Hart, Michael
School: The University of Arizona
Department: Optical Sciences
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-B 74/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Astronomy, Atmospheric sciences, Optics
Keywords: Alignment, Atmosphere, Large telescopes, Outer scale, Stellar interferometer, Tolerance
Publication Number: 3559991
ISBN: 978-1-303-05612-3
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