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Robo-AO Uses Boston Micromachines’ Deformable Mirror

Boston Micromachines has declared the adoption of its Multi-DM in Robo-AO, which is an autonomous laser adaptive optics (AO) and science instrument now being used at the 1.5-m telescope at Palomar, California. The company specializes in adaptive optics systems and MEMS-based deformable mirror (DM) products.

Robo-AO provides adaptive optics technology to telescopes of any size, where their imaging power is increased. Being capable of automating the processes, it improves the efficiency enabling researchers to easily perform more observations per night than carrying it out manually. The robotic nature of the system allows quick response to new discoveries like supernovae. It also facilitates frequent observation of targets over time, ensuring weather monitoring on various other planets existing in the solar system.

Robo-AO uses Boston Micromachines' Multi-DM for enhancing the quality of the telescope's images by rectifying the degrading aberrations resulting from atmospheric turbulence.

Robo-AO project’s Principal Investigator, Christoph Baranec said that this system was designed specifically for automation, where all components need to be affordable, reliable and predictable. Boston Micromachines' Multi-DM ideally caters to the demands in terms of cost and convenience.

The Multi-DM provides advanced aberration compensation in a user-friendly package. Integrated with low inter-actuator coupling and 140 precisely controlled elements, this system is suitable for a wide range of applications like laser beam shaping, astronomy, retinal imaging, and microscopy. The high precision, high speed driver electronics are controlled using USB interface. The DM is being offered in continuous as well as segmented surfaces for spatial light modulator or adaptive optics applications. The DMs feature sub-nm step size, zero hysteresis and ensure up to 5.5 µm stroke, and 20 kHz frame rate.


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