Abstract

Laser beams projected from the ground to form sodium layer laser guide stars (LGSs) for adaptive optics (AO) systems experience scattering and absorption that reduce their intensity as they propagate upward through the atmosphere. Some fraction of the scattered light will be collected by the other wavefront sensors and causes additional background in parts of the pupil. This cross-talk between different LGS wavefront sensors is referred to as the fratricide effect. In this paper we quantify the magnitude of four different sources of scattering/absorption and backscattering, and we evaluate their impact on performance with various zenith angles and turbulence profiles for one particular AO system. The resulting wavefront error for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) multi-conjugate AO (MCAO) system, NFIRAOS, is on the order of 5to20nm RMS, provided that the mean background from the fratricide effect can be calibrated and subtracted with an accuracy of 80%. We also present the impact on system performance of momentary variations in LGS signal levels due to variations in cirrus absorption or laser power, and we show that this affects the performance more than does an equal variation in the level of the fratricide.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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