Abstract

We present sample Monte Carlo simulation results to illustrate the trends in multiconjugate adaptive optics (MCAO) performance as the telescope aperture diameter increases from 8 to 32 m with all other first-order system parameters held constant. The MCAO system considered includes three deformable mirrors, a 1-arc min square field of view, and five wave-front-sensing references consisting of either natural guide stars or laser guide stars at a range of either 30 or 90 km. The rms residual wave-front error decreases slowly with increasing aperture diameter with natural guide stars, whereas performance degrades significantly with increasing aperture diameter for laser guide stars at 30 km if the number of guide stars is held fixed. Performance with laser guide stars at 90 km is a weak function of telescope aperture diameter in the range from 8 to 32 m, with rms wave-front errors no more than 20% greater than the corresponding natural guide-star case for the same level of wave-front sensor’s measurement noise.

© 2003 Optical Society of America

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