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Durham University

Centre for Advanced Instrumentation


The Durham Adaptive Optics Real-time Controller

A powerful, flexible and generic real-time control system (RTCS) for adaptive optics.

Suitable for use with any AO system, from laboratory benches up to ELT-scale. Flexible camera and DM interface modules, with tens of scientific cameras, and many different DMs integrated.

Available for download with a GNU Affero GPL licence from

Feel free to download, install and test, to see whether darc can suit your requirements for real-time control. We think it probably can.

If you need help or advice, don't hesitate to contact us: a.g.basden at

We can help with

  • Generic system development
  • Installation
  • Configuration
  • Interface development (camera/WFS/DM etc)
  • Telemetry interfaces
  • Algorithm development
  • etc


  • High performance, low latency.
  • Modular design (allowing you to customise easily)
  • ELT ready
  • Advanced telemetry interface
  • Large number of advanced algorithms including
  • Support for FPGA and GPU acceleration
  • Adaptive windowing
  • Correlation centroiding
  • Distributed computing
  • Asynchronous wavefront sensing
  • Figure sensing for open-loop AO
  • And many many more...