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The Laboratory of Adaptive Optics was organized in 1975 as a result of the development of noncontact optical methods for measuring vibrations in mechanics and acustics. The main method of these measurements was laser interferometry and the main problem was the necessity to remove undesirable virations. Both passive methods (damping) and active ones (compensation of undesirable vibrations by means of piezoelements) were applied in order to solve this problem. Those systems employing the active methods were not called adaptive at that time, nevertheless they undoubtedly were prototypes of adaptive phase correction systems. The adaptive optical methods got further development when solving the problems of wavefront correction, related to laser interferometry, laser beam shaping, adaptive focusing of optical radiation, correction of images observed through a distorting medium (for example, through the atmosphere), etc.

Since then we gained extensive experience in designing and buiding
adaptive optical systems of varoius functionality, as well as key components (phase correctors) for these systems. Two main types of correctors were used: conventional electromechnical ones (bimorph piezoceramic mirrors) and optically controlled ones (liquid-crystal spatial light modulators). The former ensure a large phase modulation depth (up to 15 waves) and high operation frequency (up to 1 kHz), while the latter have high spatial resolution (up to 30 line pairs/mm). Some new ideas on creating high-resolution adaptive optical systems are concerned with the use of reversible photosensitive media, such as azo-containing polymers.