Photon Statistics in Adaptive Optics

Random aberrations on the pupil of the telescope due to atmospheric turbulence determine the angular resolution of ground-based telescopes. The compensation of the wave-front degradation before detection (adaptive optics) and the extraction of diffraction-limited information from the image series (speckle interferometry) are the two techniques able to overcome this limitation. Although adaptive optics systems with a large number of subapertures in the wave-front sensor and a large number of actuators in the deformable mirror provide the best results, they are complicated and expensive. In contrast, the use of simpler adaptive optics systems has great potential application. This is the reason why we will deal with partially compensated adaptive optics systems (fewer than one actuator per atmospheric coherence diameter) in this paper.

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