LBT - Large Binocular Telescope

Location Mt. Graham, Arizona
Customer LBT Corporation
Primary mirror:

8.4 m

Secondary mirror:

0.911 m

# Actuators:


Microgate, together with ADS, was committed in 2002 by LBT Corporation to building the two adaptive secondaries for the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT). System design, construction and testing is in the hands of the "same old team" that has developed the adaptive secondary concept from the beginning:

  • Microgate: control system design, electronics design and construction, real time software
  • ADS: mechanical design, system integration
  • INAF Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri: system design, optical design, operational software, performance optimization and testing
  • Politecnico di Milano - Dipartimento di ingegneria Aerospaziale: control system design and simulation

The optics (thin shell and reference body) has been manufactured at Steward Observatory Mirror Lab.

Even if the two units are largely based on the experience gained on MMT336 adaptive secondary, several improvements have been introduced.
The electronics has been completely redesigned, with the aim of conceiving and realizing a very powerful and flexible platform, capable of being a state-of-the-art solution for controlling adaptive optics systems with up to several thousands of actuators.
Thanks to its computational power, the LBT672 electronics does not only control the mirror dynamics, but it also performs the Real Time Reconstructor computations.

Project status

The two LBT 672 adaptive secondary have been delivered sequentially to INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri where they have been extensively optically tested and calibrated.

In 2010, the first unit has been transported to the LBT telescope site on Mount Graham, Arizona, where it started commissioning and first science operation in 2011. At same time, the second unit has been also installed on the telescope and currently the adaptive secondaries of both telescope arms are fully operative.

The adaptive unit, combined with the pyramid wavefront sensor developed by INAF, obtained from beginning astonished results: the galactic center images were judged to be 3X better than the Hubble ones and nearly diffraction limited images were routinely acquired ( > 80% Strehl in H).

Beside the adaptive secondary, Microgate has devolepped and realized the whole adaptive optics computational path including several Slope Computers (FLAOLINC-NirvanaLBTIARGOS) and the Real Time Recontruction that is performed by the same electronics controlling the adaptive secondary.



Articles (italian only)