Wavefront sensing is the simultaneous measurement of the amplitude and phase of an incoming optical field. Traditional wavefront sensors such as Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor (SHWFS) suffer from a fundamental tradeoff between spatial resolution and phase estimation and consequently can only achieve a resolution of a few thousand pixels. To break this tradeoff, we present a novel computational-imaging-based technique, namely, the Wavefront Imaging Sensor with High resolution (WISH).
WISH: wavefront imaging sensor with high resolution
We replace the microlens array in SHWFS with a spatial light modulator (SLM) and use a computational phase-retrieval algorithm to recover the incident wavefront. This wavefront sensor can measure highly varying optical fields at more than 10-megapixel resolution with the fine phase estimation. To the best of our knowledge, this resolution is an order of magnitude higher than the current non-interferometric wavefront sensors. Our study suggests that the designing principle of WISH, which combines optical modulators and computational algorithms to sense high-resolution optical fields, enables improved capabilities in many existing applications while revealing entirely new, hitherto unexplored application areas.