Slightly dispersive white-light spectral interferometry to measure distances and displacements
A new spectral-domain interferometric technique of measuring distances and displacements is realized when the effect of low dispersion in a Michelson interferometer, which comprises two coated plates of a beam splitter and a compensator, is known and the spectral interference fringes are resolved over a wide wavelength range. First, processing the recorded spectral interferograms by an adequate method, the unmodulated spectrum, the spectral fringe visibility function and the unwrapped phase function are obtained. Then, knowing the dispersion relation for the fused-silica plates, the ambiguity of the unwrapped phase function is removed and the thickness of fused silica and the nonlinear phase function due to the effect of the coatings are determined by using a new procedure. It is based on the linear dependence of the overall optical path difference between interferometer beams on the refractive index of fused silica. Once the thickness and the nonlinear phase function are known, the positions of the interferometer mirror are determined precisely by a least-squares fitting of the theoretical spectral interferograms to the recorded ones.
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