Gemini Planet Imager telescope operating with help from AO system

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Boston Micromachines, a provider of MEMS-based deformable mirror (DM) products, adaptive optics (AO) systems and scientific instruments, has announced that its 4K-DM is currently installed and is being used in the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI). Deployed on one of the world's largest telescopes, the 8m Gemini South telescope located in the Chilean Andes, GPI is a scientific instrument which detects light from extrasolar planets.

Custom built for GPI, Boston Micromachines' 4K-DM is a 4,092-actuator deformable mirror spanning a 25mm aperture. Used as a high spatial-resolution wavefront corrector, it allows clarification of planet images obscured by light from parent stars.

GPI has successfully attained its goal of searching for extra-solar planets with the help of its advanced AO system, correcting for atmospheric distortions which are common obstacles in most ground-based telescopes.

‘The Boston Micromachines MEMS deformable mirror is a key component of GPI,’ said Bruce Macintosh, principal investigator of the GPI project. ‘Because the MEMS is compact, we can fit an AO system with almost two thousand degrees of freedom into the confined volume on the back of the telescope, an important aspect for the instrument.’

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