Proceedings PaperInterferometric optical testing: considerations for the proposed new international standard
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Commercial interferometers are now routinely used to test optical components and systems and several such instruments are on the market. They usually incorporate very sophisticated software and produce a wide range of performance data at the press of a key. It is felt that there is a need to introduce an international standard to control the use of such instruments. As preparation for this standard, a round-robin project was carried out, in which six simple optical components were tested by eleven different laboratories. The results have identified some areas of concern in the use of these interferometers. For example, there is a tendency for operators to over-estimate the precision of the measurements and to be unfamiliar with the procedures for estimating measurement uncertainty. There is also evidence of unfamiliarity with the adverse effect that surface imperfections and misalignment can have on the measurements. It is suggested that more extensive interlaboratory test should be carried out and that the new standard should include advice on inspection procedures, the effect that surface imperfections can have on the measurements, the importance of mounting designs and procedures, the need for software verification, and calibration procedures.