CfAO Summer School
on Adaptive Optics 2021

August 16th - August 20th, 2021

University of California, Santa Cruz

Austin Roorda

Austin Roorda is a Professor of Optometry and Vision Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He had the good fortune to work with the world’s first adaptive optics retinal camera in David Williams’ lab at the University of Rochester in 1996 where, among other things, he published the first images of the human retina that revealed the spatial arrangement of the three cone types. He went on to develop the Adaptive Optics Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope (AOSLO) and with the help from talented students, postdocs and collaborators he pioneered new adaptive optics systems to image, track and deliver light to targeted retinal locations on the scale of single cone photoreceptors in living eyes. His research involves retinal imaging for clinical applications (mainly at UCSF) and the study of the structural and functional properties of the retina and the visual system that enable humans’ exquisite spatial and color vision.

Talk Abstract

Roorda’s presentation at the AO Summer School will focus on the basics of adaptive optics for the eye, how it is integrated into various ophthalmic imaging modalities, and what clinical and basic science applications they are used for.

Benjamin Gerard

Dr. Gerard is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California Santa Cruz working on adaptive optics (AO) and exoplanet imaging, with an emphasis on focal plane wavefront control. He received his Masters and Doctorate degrees at the University of Victoria, in British Columbia, Canada, working primarily at the National Research Council of Canada Herzberg Astronomy & Astrophysics, also in Victoria, with Christian Marois and others in the AO research group there on exoplanet imaging and AO.

Talk Abstract

What is meant by "closed-loop" adaptive optics (AO)? Why not "open loop"? In this session I will dive into the aspects of AO control theory, addressing the benefit of "closing the loop." In particular, this topic considers AO in the temporal domain, complementary to the spatial domain. After considering the general architecture of closed-loop AO, we will investigate AO topics including temporal stability, user-defined controllers, and optimal controllers. Note that this will be an interactive session; in contrast to passive learning through lecturing, come prepared for active, discussion-based learning!

Vanessa Bailey

Vanessa Bailey is a staff scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She earned her BS in Physics and Astrophysics from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities and her PhD in Astronomy from the University of Arizona, and she was a postdoc at Stanford University. She has contributed to several high-contrast instruments for imaging exoplanets and circumstellar disks, both ground-based (LBTI, MagAO, GPI) and space-based (Roman CGI). She is now the Instrument Technologist for the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope (formerly WFIRST) Coronagraph Instrument, which will demonstrate high-precision, high-order wavefront sensing and control for the first time in space.

In this lecture, I will discuss AO performance measurement. Topics will include: image formation, image quality assessment, sources of errors real AO systems, and wavefront error estimation.

Donald Gavel

Donald Gavel was the founding director of the Laboratory for Adaptive Optics (LAO) in 2002 and led the R&D efforts there until retirement in 2017. LAO accomplishments include integration and test of the Gemini Planet Imager, design and assembly of the Shane Adaptive Optics System, and participation in the concept studies for the Thirty Meter Telescope’s adaptive optics systems. The LAO also worked with the UCSC Biology department in the development of adaptive optics for medical microscopy. Prior to his LAO tenure, Dr Gavel worked in the Lasers division at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory with the team that delivered the first adaptive optics and guide star laser systems to Keck Observatory. Since retirement, he has been active as a part time consultant for the Observatory, working with students and scientists on various new AO technology projects.

Garima Singh

Dr. Singh received her PhD in Astronomy & Astrophysics (Instrumentation) from the Observatory of Paris in 2015. Her doctoral thesis was on “Low-order wavefront control and calibration for phase mask coronagraphs”, which she completed at Subaru Telescope in Hawaii under the supervision of Dr. Olivier Guyon and Dr. Pierre Baudoz. Her research interests include high-contrast imaging of exoplanets and post-processing of exoplanets/circumstellar disks. Dr. Singh has contributed to the development of SCExAO, an Extreme Adaptive Optics (ExAO) instrument of the Subaru Telescope.

At present, she is a postdoctoral fellow at NRC Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Center in Victoria, Canada. She is leading the low-order wavefront sensor (LOWFS) development for the near-future prototype instrument SPIDERS/SUBARU and CAL2.0 unit of GPI/GEMINI along with the loop merging of LOWFS with a higher-order focal plane wavefront sensor (WFS). At the AOSS, she will be presenting the wavefront sensing and reconstruction performed both in the Adaptive Optics and ExAO instrumentation: from pupil plane WFSs such as Shack-Hartmann/Pyramid to focal plane sensors such as “Self-Coherent Camera."

Maaike van Kooten

Maaike van Kooten is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She received her PhD from Leiden Observatory (in the Netherlands) in 2020. She previously obtained her MASc in Mechanical Engineering in 2016 and BSc in Astrophysics in 2014, both from the University of Victoria, Canada. Working on predictive control for adaptive optics (AO), she is currently testing new control methods as well as performing on-sky testing of the Zernike wavefront sensor at Keck.

At the AO summer school, she will give an overview of modeling and prototyping AO systems focusing on using python and HCIPy ( to provide end-to-end simulations of systems such as the Keck near-infrared pyramid wavefront sensor and Zernike wavefront sensor.


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