Magnetic fluid deformable mirrors (MFDMs) present a simple alternative to the expensive and delicate wavefront correctors currently in use in adaptive optics (AO) systems. Such mirrors are particularly suitable for retinal imaging AO systems. The practical implementation of a retinal imaging AO system incorporating a MFDM requires an effective control system to control the shape of the mirror surface. The real-time control of the mirror surface requires a model of the mirror that can be used to determine the dynamic response of the mirror to a magnetic field applied as the control input. This paper presents such a model that not only determines the dynamic response of the MFDM but also takes into account the unique requirements of the retinal imaging application of the mirrors. The mirror is modeled as a horizontal layer of a magnetic fluid. The dynamic response of the mirror to the applied magnetic field is represented by the deflection of the free surface of the layer. The surface deflection is determined by the modal analysis of the coupled fluid-magnetic system. Considering the requirements of the retinal imaging application, the effects of surface tension and depth of the fluid layer are duly represented in the model. The mirror model is described in a state-space form and can be readily used in the design of a controller to regulate the mirror surface shape.

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