Hokupa'a 85 element deformable mirror Curvature adaptive optics and wave front curvature correcting elements have been pioneered at the University of Hawaii. With the invention in 1988 of a simple wave front sensing concept that could measure both wave front curvature and edge slope, Francois Roddier speculated that such a sensor combined with a curvature generating deformable mirror could be the basis for a simple and direct wave front correcting scheme. The next decade of development at the Institute for Astronomy led to hardware realizations of the wave front sensor and a suitable deformable mirror culminating in the demonstration of diffraction limited imaging at K-band at the Gemini North telescope with a modest 36 element curvature system. Only eighteen of this system’s thirty six actuators were curvature correcting and the other 18 set edge boundary conditions.
Early curvature systems were intended to demonstrate the concept. Designs were directed towards correcting the lowest order aberrations of the atmosphere. The success of these systems encouraged development throughout the world of performance oriented systems.
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