White-light interferometric techniques allow high-precision shape measurement of objects with discontinuous structures by detecting the peak of the coherence envelope. These techniques assume a specific change in the optical path difference (OPD) between the interfering beams; however, the scanning device effecting that change often introduces OPD errors that are carried over to the measurements. We present a technique for measuring OPD changes from the collected interference fringes during each measurement. Information about the scan is directly fed into the algorithm, which compensates for the errors, resulting in improved measurement accuracy. The method corrects not only the scanner errors but also slowly varying vibrations. In addition, this technique can be easily adapted to any existing low-coherence interferometer because no large data storage or postprocessing is required.
White-light vertical scanning interferometry is a well-established technique for retrieving the three-dimensional shapes of small objects, but it can measure only areas as big as the field of view of the instrument. For bigger fields a stitching algorithm must be applied, which often can be a source of errors. A technique in which the object is scanned laterally in front of an instrument with a tilted coherence plane is described. It permits measurements at higher speeds while measurement accuracy is retained and eliminates the need for stitching in one direction. Experimental confirmation is provided.
Optical interferometers are typically categorized by their source type into incoherent (white-light) and coherent (laser). Both approaches provide adequate solutions for many measurement applications, offer unique advantages, and suffer distinct limitations. A novel interferometry method, spectrally controlled interferometry, is presented, which successfully merges many advantages from both categories while bypassing some of the limitations. The relationship between measurement accuracy and fringe stability as a function of fundamental control parameters is explored. Surface measurements of common optical components are presented, and method specific noise sources and measurement accuracy are assessed as well.
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