Laser guide star (LGS) atmospheric tomography is described in the literature as integrated minimum-variance tomographic wavefront reconstruction from a concatenated wavefront-sensor measurement vector consisting of many high-order, tip/tilt (TT)-removed LGS measurements, supplemented by a few low-order natural guide star (NGS) components essential to estimating the TT and tilt anisoplanatism (TA) modes undetectable by the TT-removed LGS wavefront sensors (WFSs). The practical integration of these NGS WFS measurements into the tomography problem is the main subject of this paper. A split control architecture implementing two separate control loops driven independently by closed-loop LGS and NGS measurements is proposed in this context. Its performance is evaluated in extensive wave optics Monte Carlo simulations for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) LGS multiconjugate adaptive optics (MCAO) system, against the delivered performance of the integrated control architecture. Three iterative algorithms are analyzed for atmospheric tomography in both cases: a previously proposed Fourier domain preconditioned conjugate gradient (FDPCG) algorithm, a simple conjugate gradient (CG) algorithm without preconditioning, and a novel layer-oriented block Gauss–Seidel conjugate gradient algorithm (BGS-CG). Provided that enough iterations are performed, all three algorithms yield essentially identical closed-loop residual RMS wavefront errors for both control architectures, with the caveat that a somewhat smaller number of iterations are required by the CG and BGS-CG algorithms for the split approach. These results demonstrate that the split control approach benefits from (i) a simpler formulation of minimum-variance atmospheric tomography allowing for algorithms with reduced computational complexity and cost (processing requirements), (ii) a simpler, more flexible control of the NGS-controlled modes, and (iii) a reduced coupling between the LGS- and NGS-controlled modes. Computation and memory requirements for all three algorithms are also given for the split control approach for the TMT LGS AO system and appear feasible in relation to the performance specifications of current hardware technology.
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