Wavefront-based optical alignment

Fast and precise to the ideal position

© Fraunhofer IPT
Adjustment and assembly of a micro optical system

The alignment of lenses and other optics is an important step in the assembly of optical systems. From simple collimating lenses to complex free-form optics, precise placement in the beam path is one of the main criteria for correct function and maximum luminous efficacy. Miniaturized optics are particularly sensitive to placement and require micrometric accuracy.

The Fraunhofer IPT uses a new approach with the help of a wavefront sensor to adjust the optics. This is capable of imaging the wavefront of the propagating light instead of - as usual - recording an intensity image. The wavefront provides more detailed information about optical deformities than could be obtained with an intensity distribution. The lenses and other optics can thus be adjusted more precisely, faster and, in contrast to the conventional position-oriented approach, already function-oriented. In this way, even slight errors in the manufacture of the optics can be compensated.

The Fraunhofer IPT has developed an algorithm that determines the necessary correction from a recorded wavefront. This algorithm is adaptive so that it can be easily applied to new optics.

Our services

  • Design and construction of alignment devices based on wavefront sensors
  • Creation of algorithms for the evaluation of wave fronts for optical alignment


Collimating lenses

We place and adjust collimation lenses, for example for applications in laser technology and light projection. Especially when high positioning accuracy is required, alignment with the wavefront sensor is an advantage.

Multi-lens systems

Our algorithm can optimize the position and function of lenses within a multi-lens system to achieve maximum optical performance.


The wavefront-based alignment is also suitable for reflective optics - from parabolic mirrors to primary headlamp optics. Critical applications that require an almost perfectly flat wavefront benefit.