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Spotlight on Optics

Spotlight on Optics


  • December 2013

Optics InfoBase > Spotlight on Optics > Mutual interferometric characterization of a pair of independent electric fields

Mutual interferometric characterization of a pair of independent electric fields

Published in Optics Letters, Vol. 38 Issue 24, pp.5299-5302 (2013)
by Charles Bourassin-Bouchet, Matthias M. Mang, Ilaria Gianani, and Ian A. Walmsley

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Spotlight summary: From Young's double slit through to the Michelson interferometer, interferometers form one of the cornerstones of optics. This most direct of manifestations of the wave nature of light gives optical scientists one of their most powerful and consistent means of measuring optical disturbances in the laboratory, in countless applications that will of course be very well known to readers of the OSA family of journals.

This paper by Bourassin-Bouchet and colleagues develops and implements a new form of interferometry called Mutual Interferometric Characterization of two Electric-fields (MICE). Rather than considering interference between an unknown field and a given known reference field, or interference between an unknown reference and a displaced version of itself (self referencing), in a nice piece of lateral thinking this technique considers interference between two unknown fields.

Each of the two unknown fields can be viewed as a reference for the other. A series of interferograms is recorded, which is phase-stepped either in space or time (this stepping can also take place in the corresponding Fourier domains). These multiple sheared interferograms, which form the input data for "mutually referencing interferometry", are then processed using an iterative algorithm to reconstruct both of the previously-unknown fields in both amplitude and phase.

This is an important addition to the suite of interferometric techniques, which is likely to have widespread application to interferometric characterization for a range of optical scenarios. I warmly recommend that you read this paper.

--David M. Paganin

Technical Division: Optical Design and Instrumentation
ToC Category: Instrumentation, Measurement, and Metrology
OCIS Codes: (120.3180) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Interferometry
(120.5050) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Phase measurement
(320.7100) Ultrafast optics : Ultrafast measurements

Posted on December 24, 2013

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