Imagine Optic designs and manufactures a Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor and adaptive optics for research and industry. The company’s primary markets include optical metrology for industrial quality control, ultra high intensity lasers and microscopy in life science.
Imagine Optic was founded in 1996 by Samuel Bucourt, an expert in dimensional metrology and Xavier Levecq, a specialist in wavefront measurements. Their combined expertise brings about new products that allow users to easily perform accurate wavefront measurements using Shack-Hartmann technology.
1999 Imagine Optic released the HASO™ Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor product line for the visible part of the spectrum and their first closed-loop adaptive optics platforms for the Mega Joule Laser project (LMJ) and Atomic Vapor Laser Isotope Separation (AVLIS), quickly followed by systems for Laboratoire d'Optique Appliquée (LOA, Ecole Polytechnique, Palaiseau, France) and Hamamatsu.
2000 The product line was extended with the addition of the first wavefront sensor for telecommunication applications, HASO NIR (near infrared). Then, in 2001 the company launched the HASO UV for applications in ultraviolet range of the spectrum.
At the end of 2002, the company entered into collaboration with LIXAM, SOLEIL, LOA and CXRO (Center for X-Ray Optics in Berkeley) to develop the world’s first EUV wavefront sensor for the nanolithography and synchrotron applications.
In 2003 Imagine Optic created a daughter company, Imagine Eyes, a joint effort between Imagine Optic and leaders in the domain of adaptive optics for ophthalmic diagnostics and retinal imaging.
In 2007 since the development of Mirao deformable mirror by Imagine Eyes, Imagine Optic entered the field of bio-imaging and fluorescence microscopy. The company developed a set of separate components, AOKit Bio, for custom-built optical setups as well as the MicAO line of products for standard inverted-frame microscopes (MicAO 3DSR for PALM/STORM and MicAO SD for spinning disk microscopy).
2008 release of the SL-Sys neo, first of a kind system dedicated to the characterization of miniaturized optics and objectives.
2010 release of ILAO, first deformable mirror specifically dedicated to ultra-high intensity lasers
2012 introduction of the 4th generation of HASO.
2013 release of MicAO 3DSR, first adaptive optics accessory designed to super-resolution microscopy.
2014 Imagine Optic and Q-Sys BV were granted by Eurostars, a joint programme between Eureka (organisation) and the European Commission) for the development of high-accuracy automated metrology platform for characterization of x-ray mirrors.
2015 release of ILAO Star, 3rd generation of the mechanical deformable mirror. Imagine Optic celebrated its 20th anniversary in December 2016 and released on that year the HASO4 Broadband.
2017 upgrade of the R-Flex50 allowing now multi-wavelength measurements in the visible and NIR.Imagine Optic also has divisions in Spain (COSINGO; since 2008), in the US (Axiom Optics; since 2010) and an office in China (since 2012).
Shack–Hartmann wavefront sensor has been widely used to perform highly accurate laser beam alignment, optical component characterization and optical system characterization. Wavefront sensors measure the amplitude and the phase of electromagnetic waves independently, giving intensity and wavefront profiles, respectively. The resulting absolute wavefront measurements are required in several applications, and absolute measurement accuracy is one of the key parameters for optical metrology.
Recently, highly accurate wavefront sensors have been applied for the characterization of the slope error, surface roughness and surface form of large optics such as X-ray mirrors. This is an alternative measurement technique to Long Trace Profilometer (LTP).
Ultra high intensity lasers are now commonly used in several fields of physics research, including X-rays, wakefield acceleration, proton generation and ICF, with the common idea of intensely focusing a laser beam to energy densities that can reach 1022 W/cm2 on a target. To achieve such a goal, the laser beam typically passes through several amplification stages and is transported with larger and larger optical components. As a result, the beam is affected by thermal effects and optical aberrations which distort the wavefront and affect the focusing quality. This decreases light intensity on the target. Usually, both spectral and spatial phases are adaptively controlled in order to achieve the required focusing.
Over the last 2 decades, adaptive optics for wavefront correction and beam shaping have been commonly used in laser facilities by means of a wavefront sensor that measures the spatial phase and a deformable mirror that corrects it. Adaptive Optics systems (AOs) are now a must have in ultra-high intensity facilities, with some of the most recent systems needing several AOs to function.. Recently Imagine Optic developed mechanical actuator based deformable mirrors to specifically address the phase correction in laser systems. Key points of this technology are the optical quality, the capacity of correction, great stability and linearity and simplified maintenance requirements.
Aberrations induced by optical elements of a microscope and by biological samples distort the point spread function of the optical setup and significantly reduce the quality of the acquired images. Adaptive optics can correct these aberrations and considerably improve the contrast and resolution in different types of microscopy. The benefits of the use of Imagine Optic’s products have been demonstrated in single molecule super resolution methods, such as PALM/STORM Super-resolution microscopy, spinning disk and scanning confocal microscopy, Multiphoton fluorescence microscope, selective plane illumination microscopy (Light sheet fluorescence microscopy), and structured illumination microscopy.