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Use of self-focusing for measurements of ultrasmall (less than λ/3000) wave-front distortions

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Abstract

Results of the use of self-focusing in Kerr liquids for the measurement of small wave-front distortions transmitted through a transparent optical sample are presented. Using controlled self-focusing to decrease the spot size of the deflected beam, we have been able to improve the measurement resolution by an order of magnitude compared with that achieved with a conventional Hartmann detector. We examine a variety of materials to determine the optimal nonlinear medium and demonstrate measurements of absolute wave-front deviations at the level of λ/3000. A prototype of a new device, the scanning nonlinear Hartmann sensor, is described.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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