The Subaru Coronagraphic Extreme Adaptive Optics (SCExAO) serves both a science instrument in operation, and a prototyping platform for integrating and validating advanced wavefront control techniques. It provides a modular hardware and software environment optimized for flexible prototyping, reducing the time from concept formulation to on-sky operation and validation. This approach also enables external research group to deploy and test new hardware and algorithms. The hardware architecture allows for multiple subsystems to run concurrently, sharing starlight by means of dichroics. The multiplexing lends itself to running parallel experiments simultaneously, and developing sensor fusion approaches for increased wavefront sensing sensitivity and reliability. Thanks to a modular realtime control software architecture designed around the CACAO package, users can deploy WFS/C routines with full low-latency access to all cameras data streams. Algorithms can easily be shared with other cacao-based AO systems at Magellan (MagAO-X) and Keck. We highlight recent achievements and ongoing activities that are particularly relevant to the development of high contrast imaging instruments for future large ground-based telescopes (ELT, TMT, GMT) and space telescopes (HabEx, LUVOIR). These include predictive control and sensor fusion, PSF reconstruction from AO telemetry, integrated coronagraph/WFS development, focal plane speckle control with photon counting MKIDS camera, and fiber interferometry. We also describe upcoming upgrades to the WFS/C architecture: a new 64x64 actuator first stage DM, deployment of a beam switcher for concurrent operation of SCExAO with other science instruments, and the ULTIMATE upgrade including deployment of multiple LGS WFSs and an adaptive secondary mirror.
KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-04-14
Acknowledgements: The development of SCExAO was supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (Grant-in-Aid for Research #23340051, #26220704, #23103002, #19H00703 H00695), the Astrobiology Center of the National Institutes of Natural Sciences, Japan, the Mt Cuba Foundation and the director's contingency fund at Subaru Telescope.