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Optical Engineering

Automatic Method Of Real-Time Wavefront Analysis
Author(s): Robert C. Moore
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Paper Abstract

A technique for real-time measurement of interferograms is described which circumvents the common sources of error in traditional methods of analysis. By nulling the interferometer and simultaneously measuring the phase over a rectilinear grid, error due to geometric distortion in the interferometer (which produces apparent coma terms in the analysis of straight line interferograms), uneven pupil illumination (which shifts the apparent location of the fringe peaks), and the difficulty in fitting and interpolation of polynomials to unevenly sampled pupil functions are eliminated. Data are not interpolated or artificially smoothed, so localized irregularities in the wavefront are visible in the results. Because on-line computer processing is used, contour and isometric plots are displayed less than two minutes after data taking is completed. A unique interface design permits utilization of virtually all of the information present in the input video signal. By taking thousands of measurements per minute at each point in the wavefront, and extending the measurements over several minutes, the effects of vibration and turbulence are averaged out of the data. With a reasonably stable interferometer, the effective instrument bandwidth can be reduced to .01 Hz providing worst point peak-to-peak repeatabilities of successive measurements of better than A/100. For repeatabilities of A/20, data taking times can be reduced below two seconds. Interferometry plays a central role in the fabrication, alignment, and testing of precision optics at Tropel. From the time of our initial commitment to the manufacture of complex precision optics, we have realized the need for extreme precision in the surfacing and alignment of the individual elements. In recent years as optical systems with significant glass paths have been designed, we have begun measuring and selecting glass for homogeneity. As the requirements have become more severe, the resolution of conventional interferometry has become inadequate.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 October 1979
PDF: 3 pages
Opt. Eng. 18(5) 185461 doi: 10.1117/12.7972411
Published in: Optical Engineering Volume 18, Issue 5
Show Author Affiliations
Robert C. Moore, Tropel, Inc. (United States)

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