Adaptive optics applications

From Astronomy to Medical applications


Leader in the field of adaptive optics, ALPAO is able to provide you with component ranging from the deformable mirror to the state of the art adaptive optics full loop. With our large stroke, fast deformation and excellent optical quality, you will be able to recover the image quality to the best resolution. Applications such as vision science, astronomy, microscopy, microlectronics, laser and physics, defense and space or FSO communication, enjoy our product performances for aberration compensation. 



Turbulence introduced by the atmosphere degrades images taken using telescopes. Using adaptive optics recovers much of the information that is lost. As a result, it is possible to increase your number and quality of scientific observations.

ALPAO components and systems provides solutions for the following issues:

  • • low photon flux
  • • high frequency of atmospheric turbulence


Star AO on offStar AO on off AO Deqing

Night observations with the Adaptive Optics Lucky Imager (AOLI) at the 4.2-meter William Herschel Telescope (WHT) located at Observatorio del Roque de Los Muchachos (La Palma, Spain)
Credit: AOLI team from Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias

Night observation of the binary star HR 6212 with the Apache
Point Observatory: 3.5 m telescope
Credit:  Deqing Ren, California state university Northridge

Solar Adaptive Optics onSolar Adaptive Optics off 

Day observations with a DM69 at NSO Sunspot Dunn solar telescope (0.7 meter aperture) in New Mexico, USA
Credit: Ren Deqing, California State University Northridge)


Vision science

Diagnosing illnesses of the eye requires high resolution images of the retina. Images taken using conventional instruments are poor quality due to aberrations introduced by the eye itself. Adaptive optics offers a revolutionary technique for restoring excellent image quality.

ALPAO developed a new deformable mirror technology destined to be integrated into the majority of ophthalmic instruments. Very large strokes, excellent linearity and high bandwidth allow these deformable mirrors to achieve great results for a variety of configurations (AO-SLO, AO-OCT, two-photon microscopy, angiography, etc.). Thanks to ALPAO's Core Engine architecture, the use of adaptive optics has never been so easy.

retinal imaging 400x200 AO Ophtalmo globules 200x200

Scale bars=10 microns across.  

The image on the left shows the smallest cones at the center of the retina, (the fovea), while the image on the right shows the photoreceptor mosaic at a more eccentric location.
The large bright dots with a dark ring around them on the right are cones, and the surrounding more abundant smaller spots are rods.



Adaptive Optics systems can correct for the sample aberration but also for the microscope and spherical aberration introduced by index mismatch. If not corrected, these aberrations reduce the resolution of the microscope. ALPAO DM and systems are providing impressive results in multi-photon microscopy, confocal microscopy, PALM and STORM or fluorescence microscopy.

Adaptive Optics makes also possible to shift the depth of focus, while maintaining a constant distance between the objective and the observed object to do 3D microscopy through the use of sections. ALPAO's very large-stroke mirrors permit great depth of focus while correcting large spherical aberrations.

Example in mircoscopy

Two-color confocal imaging with AO provided by a descanned two-photon guide star deep in the living zebrafish brain.
(Credit Kai Wang, Betzig Lab., Janelia Farm, HHMI). 

Defense and space

Turbulence introduced by the atmosphere degrades performances of numerous applications like:

  • • Satellite imaging
  • • Advanced imaging systems
  • • FSO
  • • Laser weapon

Satellite imaging with adaptive optics on a 1 m telescope of Iridium-86

(Credit: Francis Bennet, I. Price, F. Rigaut, M. Copeland, Australian National University and Space Environment Research Centre (SERC) Limited)

FSO Communication

Turbulence introduced by the atmosphere degrades performances of Free Space Optical (FSO) communications. AO integration in your communication system enables:

  • • Optical beam coupling in a single or multi mode fiber
  • • A decrease of your Bit Error Rate (BER)
  • • Faster telecommunication to the state-of-the-art level

Laser and Physics

Laser beam shaping is showing a high increase of performance in numerous applications in physics like:

  • • Atomic trapping
  • • Light matter interaction at the atomic level for fundamental physics
  • • Microelectronics mask corection
  • • Laser cutting
  • • Quantum computing
  • • Free form metrology


For the most demanding applications, ALPAO high quality deformable mirror enable our customers to adjust the wavefront in your process at the sub-nm level.
Controlling the wavefront at the highest spatial resolution is then possible at every processing and test step of semiconductor fabrication. With our custom deformable mirrors we can adjust the size, wavelength and spatial frequency to push forward the state of the art. Adaptive optics is becoming mandatory for the next generation of semiconductor equipment.

 Contact us for more information