Photonics Dictionary

Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor

The Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor is an optical device used for measuring the wavefront aberrations of an optical system. It is widely used in adaptive optics systems to correct distortions and improve the quality of optical images in real-time. The sensor was developed independently by Roland Shack and Ben Platt and later improved by R. J. Noll.

Key features and principles of the Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor include:

Subapertures: The sensor divides the incoming wavefront into small, contiguous regions called subapertures. Each subaperture corresponds to a lenslet within the Shack-Hartmann array.

Lenslet array: The lenslet array consists of an array of small lenses, each focusing a portion of the incoming wavefront onto a detector (such as a CCD camera).

Wavefront sampling: The wavefront is sampled by measuring the local slope of each subaperture. The displacement of the focused spot on the detector relative to its reference position provides information about the tilt or slope of the wavefront within that subaperture.

Image analysis: The positions of the focused spots on the detector are analyzed to determine the local wavefront slopes. This information is then used to reconstruct the entire wavefront across the aperture.

Wavefront aberrations: The reconstructed wavefront provides details about aberrations in the optical system, including defocus, astigmatism, coma, and other aberrations that can distort the wavefront.

Adaptive optics correction: Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensors are commonly used in adaptive optics systems. The detected aberrations are used to dynamically adjust the shape of a deformable mirror or other optical elements to correct for the aberrations in real-time, improving the quality of the optical system.

Applications: Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensors find applications in astronomy, microscopy, laser systems, and other fields where the correction of optical aberrations is crucial for obtaining high-quality images.

The Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor has become a fundamental tool in adaptive optics technology, allowing for real-time correction of optical aberrations in dynamic environments. It has significantly contributed to the improvement of image quality in various optical systems, particularly those operating in the presence of atmospheric turbulence.
Products & Suppliers
Related Categories

We use cookies to improve user experience and analyze our website traffic as stated in our Privacy Policy. By using this website, you agree to the use of cookies unless you have disabled them.