With the announcement of a 42m European extremely large telescope (E-ELT) with
integrated adaptive optics fundamental to the design and performance of the
telescope, the development of alternatives to thin glass mirrors for the large
deformable mirror has come into focus. The current 5-mirror design includes a 2.6m diameter
adaptive mirror for M4, this would have to be made as a fragile segmented mirror if the
thin glass shells were used whereas a carbon-fibre based mirror of this size can be made in one robust piece.
A monolithic adaptive mirror also greatly simplifies the problem of system control and eliminates the unwanted diffracted and scattered light
that a segmented mirror produces.
The aims of this project are to design, build and test a 1m diameter nickel
coated CFRP mirror of flat optical form as a technology demonstrator for the next
generation of large adaptive mirrors. The research is funded by the Science and Technologies Research Council (STFC)
under the guidance of the UK ELT R&D programme.