We demonstrate correction of laser wavefront distortions by use of an adaptive-optical technique based on a light valve. The setup consists of an achromatic and adjustable-sensitivity wavefront sensor and a wavefront corrector relying on an optically addressed liquid-crystal spatial light modulator. Experimental results with strongly aberrated beams focused close to the diffraction limit are presented for the cw regime. Additional experiments with pulses and measurement of damage thresholds show that this approach is relevant for spatial phase correction of ultraintense laser pulses.
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