Turbulence correction in a large field of view by use of an adaptive optics imaging system with several deformable mirrors (DM’s) conjugated to various heights is considered. The residual phase variance is computed for an optimized linear algorithm in which a correction of each turbulent layer is achieved by applying a combination of suitably smoothed and scaled input phase screens to all DM’s. Finite turbulence outer scale and finite spatial resolution of the DM’s are taken into account. A general expression for the isoplanatic angle θ<sub>M</sub> of a system with <i>M</i> mirrors is derived in the limiting case of infinitely large apertures and Kolmogorov turbulence. Like Fried’s isoplanatic angle θ<sub>0</sub>, θ<sub>M</sub> is a function only of the turbulence vertical profile, is scalable with wavelength, and is independent of the telescope diameter. Use of angle θ<sub>M</sub> permits the gain in the field of view due to the increased number of DM’s to be quantified and their optimal conjugate heights to be found. Calculations with real turbulence profiles show that with three DM’s a gain of 7–10× is possible, giving the typical and best isoplanatic field-of-view radii of 16 and 30 arcseconds, respectively, at λ=0.5 μm. It is shown that in the actual systems the isoplanatic field will be somewhat larger than θ<sub>M</sub> owing to the combined effects of finite aperture diameter, finite outer scale, and optimized wave-front spatial filtering. However, this additional gain is not dramatic; it is less than 1.5× for large-aperture telescopes.
© 2000 Optical Society of America
(010.0010) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Atmospheric and oceanic optics
(010.1080) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Active or adaptive optics
(010.1330) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Atmospheric turbulence
Andrei Tokovinin, Miska Le Louarn, and Marc Sarazin, "Isoplanatism in a multiconjugate adaptive optics system," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 17, 1819-1827 (2000)