Adaptive Optics (AO) will be essential for accomplishing many, if not most, of the science objectives currently planned for Extremely Large Telescopes including GMT, OWL, and TMT. AO will be needed to support a range of instrumentation, including near infrared (IR) imagers and spectrometers, mid IR imagers and spectrometers, “planet finding” instrumentation and wide-field optical spectrographs. Multiple advanced AO systems, utilizing the full range of concepts currently under development, will need to be combined into an integrated architecture to meet a broad range of requirements for field-of-view, spatial resolution and spectral bandpass.
In this paper, we describe several of the possible options for these systems and outline the range of issues, trade studies and component development activities which must be addressed. Some of these challenges include very high-order, large-stroke wavefront correction, tip-tilt sensing with faint natural guide stars to maximize sky coverage, laser guide star wavefront sensing on a very large aperture and achieving extremely high contrast ratios for the detection of extra-solar planet and other faint companions of nearby bright stars.