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Optical phase aberration generation using a liquid crystal spatial light modulator


Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/10284

Optical phase aberration generation using a liquid crystal spatial light modulator

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Title: Optical phase aberration generation using a liquid crystal spatial light modulator
Author: Wilcox, Christopher Charles, 1981-
Advisor(s): Krishna, Sanjay
Committee Member(s): Restaino, Sergio R
Teare, Scott W
Gilmore, Mark
Gregory, Stephen A
Department: University of New Mexico. Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Subject: adaptive optics
atmospheric turbulence
laser beam
liquid crystal
spatial light modulator
LC Subject(s): Aberration--Simulation methods.
Atmospheric turbulence--Simulation methods.
Laser beams--Atmospheric effects--Simulation methods.
Optics, Adaptive.
Refractive index.
Liquid crystal devices.
Kolmogorov complexity.
Degree Level: Doctoral
Abstract: In this dissertation, a Liquid Crystal Spatial Light Modulator is used to simulate optical aberrations in an optical system. Any optical aberration can be simulated through the use of software developed for this project. A new method of simulating atmospheric turbulence is also presented. The Earth's atmosphere is a large, non-linear, non-homogeneous medium that is constantly flowing in a random fashion that affects light as it propagates through it. The Kolmogorov model for atmospheric turbulence is a description of the nature of the wavefront perturbations introduced by the atmosphere and it is one of the most accepted models. It is supported by a variety of experimental measurements and research and is quite widely used in simulations for atmospheric imaging. This model provides a statistical description of how random fluctuations in humidity and temperature affect the refractive index of the atmosphere for imaging through atmospheric turbulence. These refractive index fluctuations in turn affect the propagation of light through the atmosphere. An adaptive optical system can be developed to correct these wavefront perturbations for an optical system. However, prior to deployment, an adaptive optical system requires calibration and full characterization in the laboratory. Creating realistic atmospheric simulations is often expensive and computationally intensive using common techniques. To combat some of these issues often the temporal properties in the simulation are neglected. This dissertation outlines a new method developed for generating atmospheric turbulence and a testbed that simulates its aberrations far more inexpensively and with greater fidelity using a Liquid Crystal Spatial Light Modulator. This system allows the simulation of atmospheric seeing conditions ranging from very poor to very good and different algorithms may be easily employed on the device for comparison. These simulations can be dynamically generated and modified very quickly and easily. Using a Liquid Crystal Spatial Light Modulator to induce aberrations in an imaging system is not limited to simulating atmospheric turbulence. Any turbulence model can be used either statically or dynamically for multiple applications.
Graduation Date: December 2009
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/10284

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