The thickness of a transparent layer of oil upon the surface of water is measured as the distance between the surface of oil film and the interface of the oil with the water. Two experimental results have demonstrated that the interface can reflect a white-light beam well enough to form an interferogram, even if the light is subjected to oil-film dispersion. When a beam of white light is incident vertically onto the oil-film surface, a scanning white-light interferometer in the Michelson configuration is employed to locate two serial reflections, surface reflection and interface reflection. The thickness of the transparent oil film on water is calculated based on the separation of these two interferograms. A limitation thickness, ~250 μm with 1.25 μm resolution, is achieved under the condition that there is 50 nW of optical power incident onto the oil-film surface with a wavelength centered at 1310 nm.
© 2005 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: January 21, 2005
Revised Manuscript: March 13, 2005
Manuscript Accepted: March 17, 2005
Published: September 1, 2005
Changsen Sun, Longcheng Yu, Yuxing Sun, and Qingxu Yu, "Scanning white-light interferometer for measurement of the thickness of a transparent oil film on water," Appl. Opt. 44, 5202-5205 (2005)