Photonics Dictionary


Etaloning is an optical phenomenon that occurs in imaging systems, particularly in devices such as spectrometers, interferometers, and cameras. It is characterized by the appearance of interference fringes or unwanted patterns in the image due to multiple reflections within the optical elements of the system.

The term "etaloning" is commonly associated with interference effects caused by the interference of light waves that are reflected multiple times between parallel surfaces, such as the surfaces of glass plates or other optical components. These interference patterns can lead to intensity variations or distortions in the recorded image or spectrum.

In the context of a spectrometer or interferometer, etaloning can manifest as unwanted fringes superimposed on the desired spectral information, making it challenging to accurately interpret the data. It is particularly problematic when the spacing between the reflecting surfaces is comparable to the wavelength of the light being used.

To mitigate etaloning, antireflective coatings or materials with low reflectivity are often employed on optical surfaces. Additionally, adjusting the design of optical elements or using techniques like tilting the surfaces to reduce the coherence of interfering reflections can help minimize etaloning effects.

In summary, etaloning is an interference phenomenon that can introduce unwanted patterns or artifacts in optical systems, especially those involving multiple reflections between parallel surfaces. It is a consideration in the design and optimization of optical instruments to ensure accurate and reliable measurements.

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