Abstract

We have investigated two approximation methods for estimating the normalized point source sensitivity (PSSN), which is a recently developed optical performance metric for telescopes. One is an approximation based on the power spectral density (PSD) of the wavefront error. The other is the root-square-sum of the wavefront slope. We call these approximations β approximation and SlopeRMS approximation, respectively. Our analysis shows that for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), the uncertainty of the β approximation is less than 1×103 if the PSSN is better than 0.95, assuming the input PSD estimation is accurate. In addition, we find that the SlopeRMS approximation is a simple method for estimating the worst-case PSSN value in the specific situation when the PSSN is dominated by low-frequency aberrations. Therefore, the SlopeRMS approximation is expected to be useful for specifying a mirror surface for mirror vendors. Accordingly, TMT has a plan to adopt the SlopeRMS approximation for its M2 and M3 polishing specification.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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