Gemini South multi-conjugate adaptive optics (GeMS) laser guide star facility on-sky performance results

Céline D'Orgeville, Sarah Diggs, Vincent Fesquet, Benoit Neichel, William Rambold, François Rigaut, Andrew Serio, Claudio Araya, Gustavo Arriagada, Rodrigo Balladares, Matthieu Bec, Maxime Boccas, Camila Duran, Angelic Ebbers, Ariel Lopez, Claudio Marchant, Eduardo Marin, Vanessa Montes, Cristian Moreno, Eric Petit VegaCarlos Segura, Gelys Trancho, Chad Trujillo, Cristian Urrutia, Patricio Veliz, Tomislav Vucina

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

39 Scopus citations


With two to three deformable mirrors, three Natural Guide Stars (NGS) and five sodium Laser Guide Stars (LGS), the Gemini Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics System (Gemini MCAO a.k.a. GeMS) will be the first facility-class MCAO capability to be offered for regular science observations starting in 2013A. The engineering and science commissioning phase of the project was kicked off in January 2011 when the Gemini South Laser Guide Star Facility (GS LGSF) propagated its 50W laser above the summit of Cerro Pachón, Chile. GeMS commissioning has proceeded throughout 2011 and the first half of 2012 at a pace of one 6- to 10-night run per month with a 5-month pause during the 2011 Chilean winter. This paper focuses on the LGSF-side of the project and provides an overview of the LGSF system and subsystems, their top-level specifications, design, integration with the telescope, and performance throughout commissioning and beyond. Subsystems of the GS LGSF include: (i) a diode-pumped solid-state 1.06+1.32 micron sum-frequency laser capable of producing over 50W of output power at the sodium wavelength (589nm); (ii) Beam Transfer Optics (BTO) that transport the 50W beam up the telescope, split the beam five-ways and configure the five 10W beams for projection by the Laser Launch Telescope (LLT) located behind the Gemini South 8m telescope secondary mirror; and (iii) a variety of safety systems to ensure safe laser operations for observatory personnel and equipment, neighbor observatories, as well as passing aircrafts and satellites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdaptive Optics Systems III
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
EventAdaptive Optics Systems III - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: Jul 1 2012Jul 6 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferenceAdaptive Optics Systems III


  • LGS
  • LGS spot size
  • Laser Guide Star
  • MCAO
  • Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics
  • Sodium photon return

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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