A plurality of gratings (G1, G2) are arranged together with a wavefront sensor, actuators, and feedback system to align the gratings in such a manner, that they operate like a single, large, monolithic grating. Sub-wavelength-scale movements in the mechanical mounting, due to environmental influences, are monitored by an interferometer (28), and compensated by precision actuators (16, 18, 20) that maintain the coherently additive mode. The actuators define the grating plane, and are positioned in response to the wavefronts from the gratings and a reference flat, thus producing the interferogram that contains the alignment information. Movement of the actuators is also in response to a diffraction-limited spot on the CCD (36) to which light diffracted from the gratings is focused. The actuator geometry is implemented to take advantage of the compensating nature of the degrees of freedom between gratings, reducing the number of necessary control variables.