Process and control today | New wavefront sensor and software solution for optical testing, laser beam characterization and alignment of optical systems

Precision sensor manufacturer Micro-Epsilon has introduced a range of Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensors and analysis software to its product portfolio. Developed by Optocraft GmbH, a member of the Micro-Epsilon group of companies since 2018, the SHSLab is a powerful and comprehensive wavefront measurement solution for applications such as optical testing, optical alignment and laser beam characterization . The solution combines the SHSCam wavefront sensor head with SHSWorks advanced wavefront analysis software to deliver high-speed single-shot measurements with excellent accuracy, extreme measurement dynamics and wide range spectral.

Wavefront sensors are used in production and R&D in optics manufacturing, laser industries, astronomy and space applications, as well as by contact lens and intraocular manufacturers, including mobile phone lenses, microscopes and photographic lenses. Typical applications include the alignment of optical systems, where wavefront guidance greatly facilitates and speeds up the alignment process. Wavefront sensors are also used to measure the image quality of objective lenses, as well as to measure the shape of flat, spherical and slightly aspherical surfaces. In laser beam characterization, single-shot wavefront sensor measurement enables fast and accurate measurement of laser beam parameters, adaptive optics control, and thermal lens measurement. In optical tests, the accurate measurement of the transmitted wavefront provides information about Zernike wave aberrations and the corresponding PSF/MTF.

How does the SHSLab work?

A wavefront sensor consists of a 2D array of micro-lenses and a detector. After passing through the field of the micro-lens, a flat wavefront generates a regular point matrix on the detector, the spots of which have the same separation distance as the micro-lenses. If the wave front is curved, the spots generated by the micro-lenses migrate as far from the optical axis. From this point displacement, the wave front can be reconstructed. SHSLab still reliably assigns spots to their reference points in case they have moved outside of their sub-aperture. The process requires only one camera image and is therefore very quick and simple to apply. The local curvature radius of a wavefront on the microlens array can be as small as 5mm, so wavefronts with extreme curvatures can also be measured.

Sensor variants for every application

Micro-Epsilon’s SHSCam range of wavefront sensors includes the SHSCam AR3 for measuring fine laser beams; the high-resolution lateral version SHSCam SHR4 for measuring highly dynamic wavefronts; and the versatile high-sensitivity SHSCam HR3 wavefront sensor. A total of 19 sensor head variants are available.

The SHSCam range offers wavelength ranges from 266 nm to 400 nm (UV), 355 nm to 1065 nm (VIS/NIR), 900 nm to 1700 nm (SWIR). Wavelength evaluation speeds range from 1Hz to 50Hz. Detection areas are 3.6 x 4.8 mm2 up to 27 x 34mm2, although the area can be scaled up or down for use with telescopes. The standard communication interface is GigE, others are available on request. A range of accessories are also available including objective lenses, reference spheres, telescopes and light sources.

Advanced wavefront analysis software

SHSWorks is a powerful and comprehensive wavefront analysis software package that provides comprehensive Zernike polynomial analysis, PSF/MTF calculation, laser beam parameter calculation, and refraction data. The software is quick and easy to configure using predefined configurations and users benefit from a variety of features such as data logging, advanced reporting and pass/fail analysis.

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