Applied Physics

Clear Reflections

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Science  17 May 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5571, pp. 1205
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5571.1205c

Optical components such as mirrors can be made to very high specification. However, because of stresses arising during operation, mirrors can warp, sag, or bend. For very high-specification systems, adaptive optics uses feedback to iron out the deformations by making tiny mechanical adjustments via a network of actuators attached to the underside of the mirror. Vdovin et al. describe an actuation system that is relatively inexpensive and may be suitable for applications that are not extremely demanding. Their demonstrator system comprises 19 resistors placed in a hexagonal array underneath a flexible mirror. The resistor length is temperature-dependent, and each resistor is controlled and adjusted by a current source. With a response time of 5 seconds and actuator motion of about 6 micrometers, this simple setup is ideally suited to correcting slowly varying deformations and aberrations in mirror systems.—ISO

Opt. Lett.27, 677 (2002).

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