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Adaptive Optics Aim for Earthly Applications

Photonics Spectra
Apr 1997
Rodney L. Clark, MEMS Optical Inc.

Large Earth-based telescopes use adaptive optics to measure and compensate for rapidly fluctuating wavefront distortions that blur the images of objects viewed through the turbulent atmosphere.
Compensation for turbulence is important in many other fields, including communications, biomedicine and laser welding. Atmospheric distortions affect ground-based, free-space laser communications. The primary obstacles to use of adaptive optics systems in such applications are cost, complexity and reliability. Should reliable, low-cost, solid-state adaptive optic systems become commercially available, many new applications can be envisioned...

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