Dispersed Fringe Sensing (DFS) is a technique for measuring and phasing segmented telescope mirrors using a dispersed broadband light image. DFS is capable of breaking the monochromatic light ambiguity, measuring ab solute piston errors between segments of large segmented primary mirrors to tens of nanometers accuracy over a range of 100 micrometers or more.
The DFSA software tool analyzes DFS images to extract DFS encoded segment piston errors, which can be used to measure piston distances between primary mirror segments of ground and space telescopes. This information is necessary to control mirror segments to establish a smooth, continuous primary figure needed to achieve high optical quality.
The DFSA tool is versatile, allowing precise piston measurements from a variety of different optical configurations. DFSA technology may be used for measuring wavefront pistons from sub-apertures defined by adjacent segments (such as Keck Telescope), or from separated sub-apertures used for testing large optical systems (such as sub-aperture wavefront testing for large primary mirrors using auto-collimating flats). An experimental demonstration of the coarse-phasing technology with verification of DFSA was performed at the Keck Telescope.
DFSA includes image processing, wavelength and source spectral calibration, fringe extraction line determination, dispersed fringe analysis, and wavefront piston sign determination. The code is robust against internal optical system aberrations and against spectral variations of the source. In addition to the DFSA tool, the software package contains a simple but sophisticated MATLAB model to generate dispersed fringe images of optical system configurations in order to quickly estimate the coarse phasing performance given the optical and operational design requirements. Combining MATLAB (a highlevel language and interactive environment developed by MathWorks), MACOS (JPL’s software package for Modeling and Analysis for Controlled Optical Systems), and DFSA provides a unique optical development, modeling and analysis package to study current and future approaches to coarse phasing controlled segmented optical systems.