Compliant deformable mirror approach for wavefront improvement

James H. Clark, F. Ernesto Penado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We describe a compliant static deformable mirror approach to reduce the wavefront concavity at the Navy Precision Optical Interferometer (NPOI). A single actuator pressing on the back surface of just one of the relay mirrors deforms the front surface in a correcting convex shape. Our design uses the mechanical advantage gained from a force actuator sandwiched between a rear flexure plate and the back surface of the mirror. We superimpose wavefront contour measurements with our finite element deformed mirror model. An example analysis showed improvement from 210-nm concave-concave wavefront to 51-nm concave-concave wavefront. With our present model, a 100-nm actuator increment displaces the mirror surface by 1.1 nm. We describe the need for wavefront improvement that arises from the NPOI reconfigurable array, offer a practical design approach, and analyze the support structure and compliant deformable mirror using the finite element method. We conclude that a 20.3-cm-diameter, 1.9-cm-thick Zerodur® mirror shows that it is possible to deform the reflective surface and cancel out three-fourths of the wavefront deformation without overstressing the material.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number043107
JournalOptical Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • active optics
  • deformable mirror
  • finite element analysis
  • mirror deformation
  • navy precision optical interferometer
  • optical interferometry
  • optomechanics
  • wavefront distortion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Engineering


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