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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 41, Iss. 21 — Jul. 20, 2002
  • pp: 4314–4317

Automatic Alignment of a Displacement-Measuring Heterodyne Interferometer

Jennifer E. Logan, Peter G. Halverson, Martin W. Regehr, and Robert E. Spero  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 41, Issue 21, pp. 4314-4317 (2002)

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A technique to align automatically the beams of displacement-measuring interferometric gauges is described. The pointing of the launched beam is modulated in a circular pattern, and the resulting displacement signal is demodulated synchronously to determine the alignment error. This error signal is used in a control system that maintains the alignment for maximum path between a pair of fiducial hollow-cube corner retroreflectors, which minimizes sensitivity to alignment drift. The technique is tested on a developmental gauge of the type intended for the Space Interferometry Mission. The displacement signal for the gauge is generated in digital form; and the lock-in amplifier functions of modulation, demodulation, and filtering are all implemented digitally.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(120.3180) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Interferometry
(120.3940) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Metrology
(220.1140) Optical design and fabrication : Alignment

Jennifer E. Logan, Peter G. Halverson, Martin W. Regehr, and Robert E. Spero, "Automatic Alignment of a Displacement-Measuring Heterodyne Interferometer," Appl. Opt. 41, 4314-4317 (2002)

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  9. In addition to this geometric error, there are errors associated with imperfections in the optics, including nonplanar reflecting surfaces, corner gaps, and departures from perfect orthogonality of the surfaces. The latter may be the most significant; if there is a dihedral error ε deviation from 90 deg in the orientation of the cube corner faces, Eq. (1) becomes ΔL = L0θ0(Δθ + 2ε). For high-quality retroreflectors, ε ≈ 5 μrad.
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