Important considerations when using the Shack-Hartmann method for testing highly aspheric optics

Daniel G. Smith, Eric Goodwin, John E. Greivenkamp

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The Shack-Hartmann (S-H) method is a good candidate for general aspheric metrology because the lenslet array can be designed to accommodate the dynamic range associated with wildly aspheric wavefronts. However, when the S-H method is used in this fashion several issues must be taken into consideration. First, while the sensitivity and dynamic range of the instrument can be increased by allowing the spots to shift several lenslet sub-apertures, real lenslets are not thin lenses with zero aperture so the spots will not shift in exact proportion to the average phase gradient across the lenslet as is commonly expected. Second, if the wavefront is sufficiently aspheric, any relay optics will induce additional aberrations, which can be accounted for with proper calibration and reverse raytracing. Another limitation of the S-H method is that spots cannot overlap or cross. While this is a limitation on the divergence of the phase the lenslet array and detector. Finally, the single biggest problem in aspheric metrology is losing the light or vignetting. One general way to address this problem is to image the part onto the lenslet array with a large numerical aperture. In this way, rays leaving the part can have some range of angles that are guaranteed to make it through the system. This presentation will discuss these issues and methods for overcoming them. Experimental results will also be presented to demonstrate the effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-328
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2003
EventOptical Manufacturing and Testing V - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 3 2003Aug 5 2003


  • Aspheric metrology
  • Optical design
  • Shack-Hartmann

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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