Adaptive Optics and Wavefront Sensing

Authored by: Robert K. Tyson

Handbook of Optical Sensors

Print publication date:  October  2014
Online publication date:  October  2014

Print ISBN: 9781439866856
eBook ISBN: 9781439866863
Adobe ISBN:


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Adaptive optics is a technique whereby a combination of electro-optical technologies provides real-time wavefront control of a beam of light. The light can be incoming from a source far away, like a distant star or galaxy, or it can be outgoing light such as a laser used for free-space communications or a weapon. The reason that the wavefront must be controlled is because there is some unknown dynamic disturbance to the beam. Conventional adaptive optics (AO) systems consist of three principal components: (1) a wavefront sensor (WFS) to measure the disturbance, (2) a wavefront corrector such as a deformable mirror (DM) to provide compensation for the disturbance, and (3) a control system to decode the WFS information and provide proper control signals to the DM.

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