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Measuring with Light

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Long applied to optical shop testing, interferometry is now used to measure many different types of parts in a variety of applications, such as optical system performance, surface roughness, surface form and displacement of moving surfaces.

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An interferometer is an instrument that compares the position or surface structure of two objects. The basic two-beam division of amplitude interferometer components consists of a light source, a beamsplitter, a reference surface and a test surface (Figure 1). The beamsplitter creates the reference and test beams from a single light source. When the two beams recombine, the observed intensity varies depending on the amplitude and phase of these beams. Assuming the two beams are equal in intensity and are perfectly in phase at the point at which they are recombined, the resultant intensity is...Read full article

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