Nonlinear Wave Front Reconstruction from a Pyramid Sensor using Neural Networks

Alison P. Wong, Barnaby R.M. Norris, Vincent Deo, Peter G. Tuthill, Richard Scalzo, David Sweeney, Kyohoon Ahn, Julien Lozi, Sébastien Vievard, Olivier Guyon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The pyramid wave front sensor (PyWFS) has become increasingly popular to use in adaptive optics (AO) systems due to its high sensitivity. The main drawback of the PyWFS is that it is inherently nonlinear, which means that classic linear wave front reconstruction techniques face a significant reduction in performance at high wave front errors, particularly when the pyramid is unmodulated. In this paper, we consider the potential use of neural networks (NNs) to replace the widely used matrix vector multiplication (MVM) control. We aim to test the hypothesis that the NN's ability to model nonlinearities will give it a distinct advantage over MVM control. We compare the performance of a MVM linear reconstructor against a dense NN, using daytime data acquired on the Subaru Coronagraphic Extreme Adaptive Optics system (SCExAO) instrument. In a first set of experiments, we produce wavefronts generated from 14 Zernike modes and the PyWFS responses at different modulation radii (25, 50, 75, and 100 mas). We find that the NN allows for a far more precise wave front reconstruction at all modulations, with differences in performance increasing in the regime where the PyWFS nonlinearity becomes significant. In a second set of experiments, we generate a data set of atmosphere-like wavefronts, and confirm that the NN outperforms the linear reconstructor. The SCExAO real-time computer software is used as baseline for the latter. These results suggest that NNs are well positioned to improve upon linear reconstructors and stand to bring about a leap forward in AO performance in the near future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number114501
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Issue number1053
StatePublished - Nov 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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