I previously posted a tutorial presenting a technique to calibrate spatial light modulators (SLMs). The approach was based on measuring the interference between two paths that have been reflected off two different regions of the SLM. This technique is always valid but requires aligning a mask, using a lens, and capturing and processing images of interference patterns. Nowadays, most phase-only SLMs based on liquid crystals use linearly aligned nematic crystals. Unlike twisted nematic liquid crystals, they allow phase-only modulation on one polarization while not affecting the orthogonal polarization. This feature can be used to simplify the calibration setup to characterize the SLM with a common path interferometer, not requiring a precise alignment . Furthermore, it only needs a photo-detector, compared to a digital camera in the previously presented approach. This is convenient to measure the inevitable phase fluctuations of an SLM, usually around a 100 to 400 Hz frequency. In this document, we briefly describe the principle of the characterization scheme as presented in  and show typical results of the calibration and phase fluctuations.
Written by Paul Balondrade and Sébastien M. Popoff