Real-time turbulence profiling is necessary to tune tomographic wavefront reconstruction algorithms for wide-field adaptive optics (AO) systems on large to extremely large telescopes, and to perform a variety of image post-processing tasks involving point-spread function reconstruction. This paper describes a computationally efficient and accurate numerical technique inspired by the slope detection and ranging (SLODAR) method to perform this task in real time from properly selected Shack–Hartmann wavefront sensor measurements accumulated over a few hundred frames from a pair of laser guide stars, thus eliminating the need for an additional instrument. The algorithm is introduced, followed by a theoretical influence function analysis illustrating its impulse response to high-resolution turbulence profiles. Finally, its performance is assessed in the context of the Thirty Meter Telescope multi-conjugate adaptive optics system via end-to-end wave optics Monte Carlo simulations.
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