An analysis is performed to determine the accuracy with which an ac heterodyne lateral shear interferometer can measure wavefront aberrations if a white light extended source is used with the interferometer, and shot noise is the predominate noise source. The analysis shows that for uniform circular or square sources larger than a derived minimum size, the wavefront measurement accuracy depends only upon the radiance of the source and not upon the angular subtense of the source. For a 1-msec integration time, a 25-cm2 collecting area, and a source radiance of 10 W/m2-sr the rms wavefront error is approximately 1/30 wave, assuming the signal is shot noise limited. It is shown that for both uniform circular and square sources an optimum shear distance is approximately ½ the aperture diameter required to resolve the light source. Comments are made on the optimum shear for nonuniform radiance distributions.
© 1975 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: May 10, 1975
Published: November 1, 1975
J. C. Wyant, "Use of an ac heterodyne lateral shear interferometer with real–time wavefront correction systems," Appl. Opt. 14, 2622-2626 (1975)