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WaveSensor & WaveMaster®

Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensors

To ensure the implementation of the complex optical designs after production, a qualified measuring technology must be used. Wavefront measurement is particularly well-suited for this purpose, since it determines the image quality on a spatially-resolved basis, i.e. over all field angles, and across the entire sample aperture. In contrast to traditional MTF testing, this not only results in a point-based measure of quality, but also in a continuous alignment across the entire aperture.

Product Overview

These sensors analyze entire optical arrangements or individual surfaces in real time, delivering the determination of the wavefront (PV, RMS), the Zernike coefficients, the Point Spread Function (PSF), the Modulation Transfer Function (MTF), the Strehl ratio, the radius of curvature and the aspherical coefficients. They thereby enable conclusions to be drawn not only about quality control, but also about the production process.

WaveSensor represents the foundation of wavefront measurement and analysis of spherical, aspherical, freely shaped and flats single lenses and lens systems at TRIOPTICS. It involves a Shack-Hartmann sensor that is used both individually as well as integrated in complete measurement systems.

As a result of their simple operation and flexibility, the measurement systems of the WaveMaster® Compact series and the WaveMaster® Plan, with its multiple degrees of freedom, are optimized for use in research and development and the random sample quality testing of single lenses. Analyses are performed over the surface and/or the entire optical assembly.

With the WaveMaster® PRO 2, TRIOPTICS offers a measurement system that is optimized for use in production and offers batch measurements. For applications where mere on-axis wavefront measurements are not sufficient because high field angles are not taken into account, WaveMaster® Filed and WaveMaster® UST offer solutions.

WaveMaster® PRO 2 / PRO 2 Wafer /

Serial testing of lens and wafers

WaveMaster® PRO 2 / PRO 2 Wafer / PRO 2 Plan

WaveMaster® PRO 2 is used for series testing of lens assemblies and optical wafers

  • Fully automatic measurement of high sample volumes (wafers or loaded trays)

  • Measurement time of less than 3 seconds per lens and measurement step provides for high sample throughput

  • High repeatability

  • User-defined pass/fail criteria for application-oriented quality control, in comparison to design data or master samples

  • High transparency of measurement results through the export of measurement data of each individual lens enables optimal production control with respect to material defects and production errors

WaveMaster® Field

Off-axis wavefront measurement

WaveMaster® Field

The WaveMaster® Field is designed for testing single lenses and objectives under high field angles.

  • Universal wavefront inspection at field angles of up to 60°

  • Flexible and simple adjustment of individual angles of incidence and wavelengths

  • Variable sample holder allows adaptation to different sample types – ideal for R&D

  • Characterization of samples using the following lens parameters: EFL, MTF, distortion, Zernike analysis

TRIOPTICS Applications WaveMaster® WaveSensor®


The demand for compact lens systems that are characterized by small size and low weight leads, in many cases, to the replacement of multiple spherical lenses with one aspherical optical arrangement. In addition, quality controls already performed during production are becoming more important. In many cases conventional processes cannot be used for these measurement tasks. Wavefront measurement with Shack-Hartmann sensors represents the solution of choice here, due to its large dynamic range.


WaveSensor or WaveMaster® Software

The software is comprehensively structured, user friendly and includes all of the functions required to measure and analyze spherical and aspherical samples with a WaveSensor®or WaveMaster®. As a result of their flexible configurability, all important measurement results are displayed.

The software communicates with the Shack-Hartmann sensor and analyzes the measured wavefront in real time. In addition, the WaveMaster® controls measurement systems in order to align samples, for example.

  • Clear, menu-guided and configurable operation

  • Simple and intuitive measurement and analysis of wavefronts of the entire lens assembly or on surfaces in real time

  • One software for everything: Data acquisition, data calculation, calibration and display of data

  • Absolute and relative measurement mode for instant comparison with the theoretical design data from ZEMAX and Code V or with a reference lens

  • Complete documentation through output of measurement certificates

  • Clear depiction in adjustable measurement and analysis range of

    • 2D wavefront
    • PV and RMS
    • Intensity
    • Camera image
  • Complete depiction of surface topography through multiple parameterizations:

    • Aspherical equation
    • Zernike polynomials
    • Conical equation
    • Spherical equation
    • Free-form surface

Technical Data

Shack-Hartmann Sensor

WaveSensor150150 with reflex module
Sensor area15 mm x 15 mm15 mm x 15 mm
Wavelength405 nm ... 1,100 nm1)405 nm ... 1,100 nm1)
Wavefront accuracy< λ/20 (RMS)0.05 μm (RMS)
Wavefront repeatability< λ/200 (RMS)0.005 μm (RMS)
Dynamic range2,000 λ2,000 λ
Measurement frequencyup to 12 Hzup to 12 Hz
Lateral resolution138 x 138 microlenses138 x 138 microlenses

Research & Development

WaveMaster®Compact 2Compact 2 ReflexCompact 2 Universal
Sample diameter 0.5 mm ... 14 mm2),3)4.5 mm ... 18 mm3),5)Transmission: 0.5 mm ... 14 mm2),3)
Reflection: 4.5 mm ... 14 mm3),5)
Flange focal length -30 mm ... +100 mm4) -30 mm ... +100 mm4)
Radius of curvature -50 mm ... 300 mm6) -50 mm ... 30 mm6)
Sample holderSingle seat, manual positioningSingle seat, manual positioningSingle seat, manual positioning
Maximum asphericity≤ 7°7)≤ 7°7)
Sample diameter 0,5 mm ... 14 mm2), 3)0,5 mm ... 14 mm2), 3)up to 1,100 mm x 650 mm x 1,200 mm
Sample holderSingle seat, manual positioningSingle seat, manual positioningInterface for customized lens holders
Maximum sample weight450 kg
Maximum distance between
object and image plane
1,200 mm
Max. field dimensions image side±20 mm100 mm x 100 mm
Max. field dimensions object side±70°70 mm x 45 mm


WaveMaster® PRO 2 PRO 2 WaferPRO 2 PLAN
Sample diameter 0.5 mm ... 14 mm2) 0.5 mm ... 14 mm2) 0.5 mm ... 14 mm2)
FFL (Flange focal length) -12 mm ... +50 mm2) -12 mm ... +50 mm4)
Sample holderTrayWafer holderTray
Measurement time per lens< 3 s8)< 3 s8)< 3 s8)
Sample throughput per hour≥ 1,200 lens8)≥ 1,200 lens3)≥ 1,200 lens8)
Lens per trayMax. 1482)Max. 1482)
Exchange time for tray of lenses10 s10 s10 s
Wafer tray exchange time,
incl. Alignment
< 2 min< 2 min< 2 min
Setup time for new lens design< 5 min< 5 min< 5 min

1) In accordance with customer’s specification
2) Depending on telescope
3) More details upon request
4) Depending on microscope
5) Depending on radius of curvature and illumination lens
6) Depending on sample diameter and illumination lens
7) Local deviations from the best fit sphere
8) Depending on sample

TRIOPTICS WaveMaster® Upgrades & Accessories

Upgrades & Accessories

All of the WaveMaster® systems feature a flexible design and can thus be adapted to the specific requirements of your application.

A complete analysis is possible by an individual adjustment to the sample. Kinematic mounts enable the simple exchange of light sources and telescopes.

  • Light sources with different wavelength and numerical aperture
  • Telescopes for achieving optimal magnification between sample and sensor
  • Lens assemblies for surfaces with different radii of curvature
  • Sample holders and trays
  • Reference samples

The software function is optimized by means of specific modules with regard to the measurement task:

ZERNIKE analysis module

  • Zernike fit and analysis of the wavefront in real time
  • Numerical and graphical display of fit results and residuals
  • Import of wavefront design data from ZEMAX and CODE V for real-time comparisons
  • Export of wavefront data and analysis results in ASCII and ZEMAX format

MTF/PSF analysis module

  • Real-time calculation and display of 3D MTF and PSF data
  • Table with MTF measurement results
  • Export function for measurement results
  • Calculation of Strehl ratio
  • Extension of the measurement range
  • Upgrade for toric lenses (automated marker detection, simplified measurement of MTF, visual inspection)
  • Upgrade for 546 nm
  • Lens holder with various aperture sizes
  • Model eye, optional heatable

Knowledge Base

Wavefront measurement with Shack-Hartmann sensors

Operating principle of a Shack-Hartmann sensor and wavefront analysis

The standard design of a Shack-Hartmann sensor consists of a CCD camera which is placed in the focal plane of a microlens array. An incoming wavefront is sampled by the lenses of the microlens array and the foci form a spot pattern on the camera which would be evenly spaced in case of a plane wavefront. Any aberration introduced by the sample lens leads to a curvature of the wavefront thus resulting in local wavefront tilts. These induce a measurable shift of each focus spot position.

A numerical integration of the obtained slope information allows for reconstruction of the wavefront profile with high accuracy.

High dynamic range compared to interferometers

The dynamic range of a Shack-Hartmann sensor heavily depends on the algorithm which assigns each measured spot to the corresponding microlens. A wavefront is reconstructed only when this correlation is kept. Especially in case of stronger curved wavefronts sophisticated algorithms are needed since the simple assignment of a predefined searching area in the CCD plane of the size of a microlens is not sufficient anymore. Modern techniques achieve wavefront dynamic ranges up to 1500 A.

Due to this high dynamic range Shack-Hartmann sensors are able to measure wavefronts with strong aberrations which are not accessible with interferometers anymore.

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TRIOPTICS WaveMaster® Knowledge Base

Schematic setup of a Shack-Hartmann sensor with an a) incoming plane wavefront and (b) incoming diverging Wavefront

TRIOPTICS WaveMaster® Knowledge Base

Zernike polynomials up to the 6th order

Real time wavefront analysis zernike polynomials

The measured wavefront is decomposed into a linear combination of Zernike polynomials which describe typical optical properties and errors of a lens or lens system as e.g. defocus, coma or astigmatism.

The polynomial decomposition gives a numerical representation of any kind of aberration of the sample. These have basically two sources: aberrations directly linked to the design of the lens, most likely spherical terms, and asymmetric contributions due to lens errors.

MTF, PSF and Strehl ratio

The effects of aberrations are also characterized by calculating the Point Spread Function (PSF), Modulation Transfer Function (MTF or Strehl ratio of the optical system which are obtained from the wavefront. The MTF is as well-known as the modulus of the Optical Transfer Function.

The wavefront measurement and its further analysis give a full spatially resolved description of the imaging characteristics of the lens under test.

Different setups with Shack-Hartmann sensors

Measurement setups in transmission and reflection

Different configurations of the setup can be chosen for measuring the wavefront. Most important for the choice of configuration is whether the optical properties – using the transmission mode – or the lens shape – using the reflection mode – shall be analyzed

Transmission mode

Measurement in transmission provides information about the optical properties of the lenses or lens systems combining the influence of all surfaces as well as refractive index variations in the measured wavefront.

Basic infinite setup

In the basic transmission setup the sample lens is illuminated with collimated light. A lens in combination with a telescope is then used to collimate the beam again and image the wavefront onto the Shack-Hartmann sensor.

In this setup the sample lens can be easily adjusted in its lateral and height position to achieve the best focus position with respect to the sensor.

Finite setup in transmission

Reverse infinite setup

In this configuration the sample lens is illuminated by a point light source in the focal plane of the lens. The exit pupil of the lens is imaged onto the wavefront sensor by a telescope.

The height position of the point light source, the lateral position of the sample lens and the image plane of the Shack- Hartmann sensor are chosen separately. The reverse infinite setup is used for the instruments WaveMaster® Compact 2 and WaveMaster® PRO.

Finite setup

In addition to the reverse setup, the lens is illuminated and tested in a configuration which is equal or close to the conditions of its dedicated application. This means the point light source is not located in the focal plane of the specimen, but at a distance specified by the design. For the complete imaging of the beam on the sensor, a collimating lens is added between sample lens and telescope. In this configuration. This configuration is only available with the instrument recommended for research and development.

Reflection mode

Measurements in reflection provide information about the topography of the sample surface. For this measurement the illumination unit with beam splitter is mounted in front of the wavefront sensor. A combination of collimating lens and telescope is used to illuminate the sample and image the reflected wavefront onto the Shack-Hartmann sensor.
The reflection setup is available as an easy to attach module for all WaveSensor products. Single lesnes can be measured with using WaveMaster® Compact 2 Reflex and WaveMaster® Compact 2 Universal.

TRIOPTICS WaveMaster® Knowledge Base

Reverse infinite setup

TRIOPTICS WaveMaster® Knowledge Base

Finite setup

TRIOPTICS WaveMaster® Knowledge Base

Reflection mode