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Geoff Andersen  

USAF Academy
Geoff Andersen, Senior Researcher
United States Air Force Academy

Senior researcher, Dr. Geoff Andersen and his team at the Laser and Optics Research Center at the United States Air Force Academy have developed a new Adaptive Optics (AO) technique to address the size and speed requirements of military applications. The weight and volume of traditional computer-based AO systems have made them unsuitable for some military applications including unmanned aerial vehicles and directed energy systems such as laser weapons.

Aiming to reduce size and complexity, Andersen removed the conventional computer based wavefront sensor and replaced it with a multiplexed hologram and an array of photodetectors. The hologram is created by recording the response function of each individual deformable mirror actuator. The system detects the phase error at the actuator location using a photodetector - the output of which can be directly tied into the actuator control. By removing the computer from the loop, the entire system is simplified; making it far less expensive and up to 100 times faster than existing systems as well as much more compact. Andersen’s new holographic technique removes the speed and space barriers from using AO systems on unmanned aerial vehicles and directed-energy weaponry while being able to produce clearer images than previously feasible. BMC’s Mini-DM handles the distortion correction at the application’s fast speed. The high performance and compact MEMS mirror is perfectly suited for this holographic adaptive optics technique.

Aberrated Beam  

This is an image of an aberrated beam before and after correction using
the holographic wavefront sensor and BMC MEMS mirror.