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Optical phased array configuration for an extremely large telescope

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Abstract

Extremely large telescopes are currently under consideration by several groups in several countries. Extrapolation of current technology up to 30 m indicates a cost of over $1 billion. Innovative concepts are being explored to find significant cost reductions. We explore the concept of an Optical Phased Array (OPA) telescope. Each element of the OPA is a separate Cassegrain telescope. Collimated beams from the array are sent via an associated set of delay lines to a central beam combiner. This array of small telescope elements offers the possibility of starting with a low-cost array of a few rings of elements, adding structure and additional Cass elements until the desired diameter telescope is attained. We address the salient features of such an extremely large telescope and cost elements relative to more conventional options.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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