Stacey Yanagihara was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Her main interest is in video game development and software engineering. If she is not working or studying, Stacey enjoys spending time outdoors or just hanging out with her family and friends.

Home Island: Big Island

Institution when accepted: University of Hawaii at Hilo

Akamai Project: Speeding Up Wavefront Sensor Backgrounds for Robo-AO

Project Site: Institute for Astronomy – Hilo, Hawai‘i Island HI

Mentors: Paul Barnes, Christoph Baranec

Project Abstract:

Robo-AO is a laser adaptive optics system on the UH 2.2 meter telescope on Maunakea. This system autonomously takes a background image in order to produce a calibrated wavefront sensor image. Currently, Robo-AO has a time delay with this process; therefore, it needs a faster switching system for taking the wavefront sensor backgrounds. By doing so, this will increase the efficiency of the observing system by an extra two hours on a four-night observation period. Robo-AO uses a pulsed laser that is triggered by the 10kHz master clock that outputs a transistor-transistor logic (TTL) signal. This signal is then sent to the signal delay generator that is responsible for sending on/off signals to the pockels cell of Robo-AO. After receiving a TTL signal, the delay generator waits 63 microseconds to send an on signal to the pockels cell and then waits an additional three microseconds to send an off signal. The generator is currently switched on and off by the A/C power supply; however, when it turns back on, there is a time lag of five to six seconds. My solution to this involves creating a C++ program for a USB (Universal Serial Bus) Solid State Relay that will interrupt the signal and suppress the on/off signals that are sent to the generator and to the pockels cell. This will allow Robo-AO’s system to take faster background images and allow for more observations to be performed every night.