This software is designed to predict large active mirror performance at various stages in the fabrication lifecycle of the mirror. It was developed for 1-meter class powered mirrors for astronomical purposes, but is extensible to other geometries. The package accepts finite element model (FEM) inputs and laboratory measured data for large optical-quality mirrors with active figure control. It computes phenomenological contributions to the surface figure error using several built-in optimization techniques. These phenomena include stresses induced in the mirror by the manufacturing process and the support structure, the test procedure, high spatial frequency errors introduced by the polishing process, and other process-dependent deleterious effects due to light-weighting of the mirror. Then, depending on the maturity of the mirror, it either predicts the best surface figure error that the mirror will attain, or it verifies that the requirements for the error sources have been met once the best surface figure error has been measured.

The unique feature of this software is that it ties together physical phenomenology with wavefront sensing and control techniques and various optimization methods including convex optimization, Kalman filtering, and quadratic programming to both generate predictive models and to do requirements verification. This software combines three distinct disciplines: wavefront control, predictive models based on FEM, and requirements verification using measured data in a robust, reusable code that is applicable to any large optics for ground and space telescopes.

The software also includes state-of-the-art wavefront control algorithms that allow closed-loop performance to be computed. It allows for quantitative trade studies to be performed for optical systems engineering, including computing the best surface figure error under various testing and operating conditions. After the mirror manufacturing process and testing have been completed, the software package can be used to verify that the underlying requirements have been met.

This work was done by Scott A. Basinger of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Daniel Broderick of the California Institute of Technology at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. NPO-47667

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the June, 2012 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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