An SLM-based Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor for aberration correction in optical tweezers

Richard W. Bowman, Amanda J. Wright, Miles J. Padgett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (SciVal)


Holographic optical tweezers allow the creation of multiple optical traps in 3D configurations through the use of dynamic diffractive optical elements called spatial light modulators (SLMs). We show that, in addition to controlling traps, the SLM in a holographic tweezers system can be both the principal element of a wavefront sensor and the corrective element in a closed-loop adaptive optics system. This means that aberrations in such systems can be estimated and corrected without altering the experimental setup. Aberrations are estimated using the Shack-Hartmann method, where an array of spots is projected into the sample plane and the distortion of this array is used to recover the aberration. The system can recover aberrations of up to ten wavelengths peak-peak, and is sensitive to aberrations much smaller than a wavelength. The spot pattern could also be analysed by eye, as a tool for aligning the system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124004
JournalJournal of Optics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2010


  • Aberration correction
  • Optical tweezers
  • Shack-hartmann wavefront sensor
  • Spatial light modulator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


Dive into the research topics of 'An SLM-based Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor for aberration correction in optical tweezers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this