A wave-front sensor is described that uses a programmable moving aperture to scan an incoming wave front. The position of the diffraction spot is recorded behind an objective lens with a two-dimensional sensor and gives an estimate of the local slope at the aperture position. Then the wave front is reconstructed by processing of the slope data. The device is basically a programmable Hartmann wave-front sensor. Compared with a microlens Shack–Hartmann wave-front sensor, its much longer focal length provides higher resolution, although real-time operation is lost. A practical implementation of the new scanner with a liquid-crystal television as the programmable aperture is presented.
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