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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 29, Iss. 34 — Dec. 1, 1990
  • pp: 5136–5144

Use of heterodyne detection to measure optical transmittance over a wide range

Alan L. Migdall, B. Roop, Y. C. Zheng, J. E. Hardis, and Gu Jun Xia  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 29, Issue 34, pp. 5136-5144 (1990)

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We are developing a heterodyne detection technique to measure optical transmittance with high accuracy over an unprecedented dynamic range. We have measured filters spanning a wide range of transmittances (12 orders of magnitude) and have evaluated the absolute uncertainties and discuss the ultimate accuracies that may be achieved. Our setup uses a two-beam Mach-Zehnder interferometer with acoustooptic frequency shifting to produce a frequency difference between the two light beams. We determine the optical transmittance of a filter by inserting it into one of the interferometer arms and measuring the change in amplitude of the signal at the difference frequency on the interferometer output beam. This method allows direct comparisons between optical and rf attenuators, ultimately tying optical transmittance measurements to rf attenuation standards in an absolute way.

© 1990 Optical Society of America

Original Manuscript: March 19, 1990
Published: December 1, 1990

Alan L. Migdall, B. Roop, Y. C. Zheng, J. E. Hardis, and Gu Jun Xia, "Use of heterodyne detection to measure optical transmittance over a wide range," Appl. Opt. 29, 5136-5144 (1990)

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  1. J. J. Snyder, “Wide Dynamic Range Optical Power Measurement Using Coherent Heterodyne Radiometry,” Appl. Opt. 27, 4465–4469 (1988). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  2. Our direct detection apparatus setup is similar, in principle, to the one used in this reference. A. R. Schaefer, K. L. Eckerle, “Spectrophotomeric Tests Using a Dye-Laser-Based Radiometric Characterization Facility,” Appl. Opt. 23, 250–256 (1984). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
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  8. EG&G, Salem, MA.
  9. Certain trade names and company products are mentioned in the text or identified in an illustration to adequately specify the experimental procedure and equipment used. In no case does such identification imply recommendation or endorsement by the National Institute of Standards & Technology, nor does it imply that the products are necessarily the best available for the purpose.
  10. Analog Modules, Inc., Longwood, FL.
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