Abstract

Numerical simulations of atmospheric turbulence and adaptive optics (AO) wavefront correction are performed to investigate the time scale for fringe motion in optical interferometers with spatial filters. These simulations focus especially on partial AO correction, where only a finite number of Zernike modes are compensated. The fringe motion is found to depend strongly on both the aperture diameter and the level of AO correction used. In all the simulations the coherence time scale for interference fringes is found to decrease dramatically when the Strehl ratio provided by the AO correction is ≲30%. For AO systems that give perfect compensation of a limited number of Zernike modes, the aperture size that gives the optimum signal for fringe phase tracking is calculated. For AO systems that provide noisy compensation of Zernike modes (but are perfectly piston neutral), the noise properties of the AO system determine the coherence time scale of the fringes when the Strehl ratio is ≲30%.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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