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Active optics null test system based on a liquid crystal programmable spatial light modulator

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Abstract

We present an active null test system adapted to test lenses and wavefronts with complex shapes and strong local deformations. This system provides greater flexibility than conventional static null tests that match only a precisely positioned, individual wavefront. The system is based on a cylindrical Shack–Hartmann wavefront sensor, a commercial liquid crystal programmable phase modulator (PPM), which acts as the active null corrector, enabling the compensation of large strokes with high fidelity in a single iteration, and a spatial filter to remove unmodulated light when steep phase changes are compensated. We have evaluated the PPM’s phase response at 635nm and checked its performance by measuring its capability to generate different amounts of defocus aberration, finding root mean squared errors below λ/18 for spherical wavefronts with peak-to-valley heights of up to 78.7λ, which stands as the limit from which diffractive artifacts created by the PPM have been found to be critical under no spatial filtering. Results of a null test for a complex lens (an ophthalmic customized progressive addition lens) are presented and discussed.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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