Born and raised on the island of Maui, David Kim was brought up in a home where he inherited his parent’s good work ethic, self confidence, and respect for others. David graduated in 2001 as the third graduating class of King Kekaulike high school. During his years in high school he excelled in his electronic courses which encouraged him to pursue a future with electronics. In search for an electronics career David enlisted with the Air National Guard where he currently holds a technician position in satellite, wideband, and telemetry systems. After completing technical training he returned to Maui and enrolled at Maui Community College. In pursuit for higher education he transferred to the University of Hawaii at Manoa where he is currently studying electrical engineering with a focus in electro-physics.

Home Island: Maui
High School: King Kekaulike High School
Institute when accepted: University of Hawaii at Manoa

Project Title: Adaptive Optics for Astronomy
Project Site
: Institute for Astronomy, Maui
Mentors: J.D. Armstrong, Joe Ritter, John Messersmith, Jeff Kuhn

Project Abstract:

We have always looked to the stars for answers, and for the most part the responses have been fuzzy. The atmosphere introduces distortion, and the solution to this problem is adaptive optics (AO). The overall project goal was to assemble an AO system. An AO system is comprised of a wavefront sensor that measures the distortion of the incoming light, a deformable mirror to correct the distortion, and software to link the hardware. The focus of the project became characterizing the Institute for Astronomy’s (IfA) deformable mirror. To test and characterize the mirror we used a ZYGO interferometer. The interferometer transmits a beam of light onto the mirror. The reflected beam is then combined with a reference beam and their phase difference is interpreted into the mirror’s shape. This test could not monitor any movement of the mirror’s surface. I then tested a known-operational mirror from Maui Community College and was able to monitor this mirror’s surface movement. The last test was to apply a voltage to every actuator of the IfA mirror. If the voltage on the channel matched the applied voltage then the actuator would be operating correctly. From this test I found that only 19 actuators were working. By proving that the ZYGO setup was correct and that only 19 actuators were working, I conclude that IfA’s deformable mirror is operational but not sufficient for an AO system.