Adaptive Optics are devices such as Spatial Light Modulators and Deformable Mirrors. They are used to correct optical aberrations to increase the resolution and contrast of an optical system, or used to control the phase, amplitude or phase and amplitude of light.

An adaptive optic system is typically when these AO devices are used in a closed loop, in conjunction with a wavefront sensor such as a Shack-Hartmann camera, or in an open loop configuration where preselected patterns such as Zernike patterns are used to optimise the image.