A new system, consisting of a double-channel Fabry–Perot etalon and laser diodes emitting around 780 nm, is described and proposed for use for measuring air-refractive index. The principle of this refractometer is based on frequency measurements between optical laser sources. It permits quasi-instantaneous measurement with a resolution of better than 10-9 and uncertainty in the 10-8 range. Some preliminary results on the stability of this system and the measurements of the refractive index of air with this apparatus are presented. The first measurements of the index of air at 780 nm are, within an experimental uncertainty of the order of 2 × 10-8, in agreement with the predicted values by the so-called revised Edlén equations. This result is, to the best of our knowledge, the first to extend to the near IR the validity of the revised Edlén equation derived for the wavelength range of 350–650 nm.
© 1998 Optical Society of America
N. Khélifa, H. Fang, J. Xu, P. Juncar, and M. Himbert, "Refractometer for Tracking Changes in the Refractive Index of Air Near 780 nm," Appl. Opt. 37, 156-161 (1998)