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Characterization for vision science applications of a bimorph deformable mirror using phase-shifting interferometry

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The wave front corrector is one of the three key elements in adaptive optics, along with the wave front sensor and the control computer. Low cost, compact deformable mirrors are increasingly available. We have tested the AOptix bimorph deformable mirror, originally developed for ultra-high bandwidth laser communication systems, to determine its suitability for vision science applications, where cornea and lens introduce optical aberrations. Measurements of the dynamic response of the mirror to a step input were obtained using a commercial Laser Doppler Vibrometer (LDV). A computer-controlled Twyman-Green interferometer was constructed to allow the surface height of the deformable mirror to be measured using Phase-Shifting Interferometry as a function of various control voltages. A simple open-loop control method was used to compute the control voltages required to generate aberration mode shapes described by the Zernike polynomials. Using this method, the ability of the deformable mirror to generate each mode shape was characterized by measuring the maximum amplitude and RMS error of each Zernike mode shape up to the fifth radial order. The maximum deformation amplitude was found to diminish with the square of the radial order of the Zernike mode, with a measured deformation of 8 microns and 1.5 microns achieved at the second-order and fifth-order Zernike modes, respectively. This deformation amplitude appears to be sufficient to allow the mirror to correct for aberrations up to the fifth order in the human eye.

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