Wavefront sensing for metrology and adaptive optics

In the Heriot-Watt Waves & Fields group we have a great deal of experience and previous research grants in the field of adaptive optics; optical systems that can measure and correct for dynamic aberrations that affect image quality. A critical component of such a system is the wavefront sensor, which is used to measure the aberrations that are to be corrected (or the residual aberrations that remain after a correction has been applied). In metrology applications measuring the wavefront reflected from a surface can provide a measurement of the shape of that surface. Thus the wavefront sensor is a device which has many important applications in adaptive optics and metrology, industry and medicine.

An example of a retrieved phase profile - measured using our phase diversity wavefront sensor

There are many different types of wavefront sensor in use today. Our research has centered on phase diversity wavefront sensors which measure the unknown phase profile of a wavefront by adding a known phase term to it (called the 'diversity' phase). One method of applying this diversity phase term is to encode it into a diffraction grating. In collaboration with industrial partners we have successfully used this method to produce accurate wavefront sensing measurements in a wide range of applications including thickness measurements of thin films, surface polishing, and optical quality measurements of intra-ocular lenses for opthalmic applications.

Most recently we have been applying the diffraction gratings designed for phase diversity wavefront sensing to 3D real-time imaging in biology. While we do not currently have any grants solely based on wavefront sensing we are actively applying these techniques to biology and medical research applications and it remains a topic of great interest to us.

For more information...

You can find out more about how phase diversity wavefront sensing and phase reconstruction works by visiting our resources section. This section also contains background information on adaptive optics.

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Our Research

Find information on our current research projects, and our research interests both past and present...

Life Sciences Interface