We present the problem of generating a computer simulation for optical interferometers. Of the several methods in use to simulate optical systems, none seems adequate to describe the image formed by interference between beams encountering a real system of lenses, mirrors, and gratings. We have developed a ray-tracing software package that can be applied to complex systems and used to generate realistic interference patterns, even from extended sources, without simplifying assumptions. We present results of a simulated nonscanning interferometer with coherent summation at a discrete-element detector. No coherence theory is added a priori; instead, the major results are shown to be verified numerically.
© 1995 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: January 10, 1994
Revised Manuscript: August 10, 1994
Manuscript Accepted: August 10, 1994
Published: January 1, 1995
Nigel G. Douglas, Andrew R. Jones, and Frans J. van Hoesel, "Ray-based simulation of an optical interferometer," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 12, 124-131 (1995)