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GOVERNMENT ENGINEERING COLLEGE, VALSAD Mechanical Engineering Department Subject : Mechanical Measurement & Metrology

Main Topics Introduction. Interferometers. Optical Flat. Interference. interference Bands By Optical Flat.

The use of interferomentry techniques in

metrology stems from a suggestion of the French physicist Babinet in 1829 that light waves could be used as a natural standard of length. the phenomenon of interaction of light waves is known as interference and the instruments designed to measure are know as interferometers. interference occurs only when, two light rays come together in a compatible condition know as coherence.

sophisticated application requires the use of

light sources such as mercury198, cadmium86, thallium, helium, hydrogen, neon, sodium, potassium, zinc, laser mixed radiations etc. interferometry is an important investigative technique in the fields of astronomy, fiber optics, engineering metrology, optical metrology, oceanography, seismology, chemistry, quantum mechanics, nuclear and particle microfluidics. interferometers are widely used in science and industry for the measurement of small displacements, refractive index changes, surface irregularities and the like.

Interferometry makes use of the principle of superposition to combine waves in a way that will cause the result of their combination to have some meaningful property that is diagnostic of the original state of the waves. This works because when two waves with the same frequency combine, the resulting pattern is determined by the phase difference between the two waveswaves that are in phase will undergo constructive interference while waves that are out of phase will undergo destructive interference. Most interferometers use light or some other form of electromagnetic wave.

This figure is fourier transform spectroscopy.In physics, one of the most important experiments of the late 19th century was the famous "failed experiment" of Michelson and Morley that served as an inspiration for special relativity. Michelson interferometers are used in tunable narrow band optical filters and as the core hardware component of Fourier transform spectrometers.

Definition: optical devices utilizing the phenomenon of interference. An interferometer is an optical device which utilizes the effect of interference. Typically, it starts with some input beam, splits it into two separate beams with some kind of beam splitter (a partially transmissive mirror), possibly exposes some of these beams to some external influences (e.g. some length changes or refractive index changes in a transparent medium), and recombines the beams on another beam splitter. The power or the spatial shape of the resulting beam can then be used e.g. for a measurement.

There are also substantially different principles of using interferometers. For example, Michelson interferometers are used in very different ways, using different types of light sources and photodetectors: 1. When a light source with low optical bandwidth is used (perhaps even a single-frequency laser), the detector signal varies periodically when the difference in arm lengths is changed. Such a signal makes it possible to do measurements with a depth resolution well below the wavelength, but there is an ambiguity. For example, a monotonic increase or decrease of the arm length difference leads to the same variation of the detected signal. This problem may be solved by modulating the arm length difference. 2. A white light interferometer uses a broadband light source (e.g., a superluminescent diode), so that interference fringes are observed only in a narrow range around the point of zero arm length difference. In that way, the above-mentioned ambiguity is effectively removed.

3. A wavelength-tunable laser can be used to record the detector signal for different optical frequencies. From such signals, the arm length difference can be unambiguously retrieved. This works also with two-dimensional detectors (e.g. CCD cameras). 4. If one of the mirrors is intentionally tilted, an interference fringe pattern is obtained. Any change in arm length difference will then move the fringe pattern. This method makes it possible to measure phase changes sensitively and also to measure position-dependent phase changes, e.g. in some optical element.

o Another class of interferometric methods

is named spectral interferometry. Here, interference in the spectral domain is exploited. The spectral modulation period is essentially determined by a time delay.

for measuring the wavelength e.g. of a laser beam ( wavemeter), or for analyzing a beam in terms of wavelength components for monitoring slight changes in an optical wavelength or frequency (typically using the transmission curve of a Fabry Prot interferometer) (frequency discriminators) for measuring rotations (with a Sagnac interferometer) for measuring slight deviations of an optical surface from perfect flatness (or from some other shape) for measuring the linewidth of a laser ( self-heterodyne linewidth measurement, frequency discriminator) for the full characterization of ultrashort pulses via spectral interferometry as an optical filter for measurements of the chromatic dispersion of optical components for modulating the power or phase of a laser beam, e.g. with a MachZehnder modulator in an optical fiber communication system

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.




The MachZehnder interferometer was developed by the physicists Ludwig Mach and Ludwig Zehnder. As shown in Figure , it uses two separate beam splitters (BS) to split and recombine the beams, and has two outputs, which can e.g. be sent to photodetectors. The optical path lengths in the two arms may be nearly identical (as in the figure), or may be different (e.g. with an extra delay line). The distribution of optical powers at the two outputs depends on the precise difference in optical arm lengths and on the wavelength (optical frequency).

A Michelson interferometer, as invented by Albert Abraham Michelson, uses a single beam splitter for separating and recombining the beams. If the two mirrors are aligned for exact perpendicular incidence (see the upper figure), only one output is accessible, and the light of the other output goes back to the light source. If that optical feedback is unwanted (as is often the case with a laser, which might be destabilized), and/or access to the second output is required, the recombination of beams can occur at a somewhat different location on the beam splitter. One possibility is to use retroreflectors, as shown in the lower figure; this also has the advantage that the interferometer is fairly insensitive to slight misalignment of the retroreflectors. Alternatively, simple mirrors at slightly non-normal incidence can be used.

A FabryProt interferometer consists of two parallel mirrors, allowing for multiple round trips of light. (A monolithic version of this can be a glass plate with reflective coatings on both sides.) For high mirror reflectivities, such a device can have very sharp resonances (a high finesse), i.e. exhibit a high transmission only for optical frequencies which closely match certain values. Based on these sharp features, distances (or changes of distances) can be measured with a resolution far better than the wavelength. Similarly, resonance frequencies can be defined very precisely.

A Sagnac interferometer (named after the French physicist Georges Sagnac) uses counterpropagating beams in a ring path, realized e.g. with multiple mirrors (as in Figure 4) or with an optical fiber. If the whole interferometer is rotated e.g. around an axis which is perpendicular to the drawing plane, this introduces a relative phase shift of the counterpropagating beams (Sagnac effect). The sensitivity for rotations depends on the area covered by the ring, multiplied by the number of round trips (which can be large e.g. when using many turns in an optical fiber). It is possible e.g. to obtain a sensitivity which is sufficient for measuring the rotation of the Earth around its axis.

Some interferometers use a common beam path but different polarizations for the two beams. This has the advantage that fluctuations of the geometric path length do not affect the interferometer output, whereas the interferometer can be a sensitive detector for birefringence.

All the interferometer types discussed above can also be implemented with optical fibers. Instead of beam splitters, one then uses fiber couplers. A potential difficulty is that the polarization state of light may change during propagation in the fiber. This often requires one to include a fiber polarization controller (which may occasionally have to be readjusted) or to use polarization-maintaining fibers. Also note that temperature changes in the fibers can affect the optical phase shifts.

1. 2.


Grazing-incidence interferometers are commonly used to measure the flatness of hard-disk-drive blanks and semiconductor wafers. Such instruments have a reduced sensitivity to surface roughness; at an 80 incidence angle, for example, an interferometer can measure the flatness of a surface that has an average surface roughness of up to 1 m, or about six times greater than what normal-incidence interferometers can measure. Grazing-incidence interferometry also allows the measurement of surfaces that deviate from flatness by an amount too large for normal-incidence interferometers to handle.

this instrument, show in diagrammatic from in figure was designed by the national physical laboratory. This instrument as the suggest, is mainly used for checking the flatness of flat surfaces. it consist essentially of a mercury-vapour lamp whose radiations are passed through a green filter, thus removing all other colours, and leaving a green monochromatic light whose wavelength is very close to 0.5m. this beam is directed on to the gauge to be tested via an optical flat so that interference fringes are formed across the face of the gauge, the fringes being viewed from directly above by means of a thick glass plate semi-reflected set at 45 to the optical axis.

figure shows interference band patterns for four gauges. In fig.a the pitch and direction of the bands on the base and gauge are same indicating a perfectly flat and parallel gauge. In fig.b though the direction of bands is same, the pitch is different indicating a taper along the longer edge of the gauge. In fig.c the pitch is same but direction is different indicating a taper along the shorter edge of gauge. Fig.d shows that the corners of the gauge are worn out. When the gauge surface is convex or concave then fringe as shown in fig.e is obtained.

if the gauge being tested is more than 25 mm in length the fringe pattern on the base plate is difficult to observe, but the base plate is rotary and its underside is lapped truly parallel with its working surface . therefore if a non-parallel gauge is viewed the angle it makes with the optical flat will be as shown in figure.

if the table is turned through 180 the surface is now less parallel with the optical flat, so that the gauge top lies along A,B in fig. in the first observation, let the number of bands be N1 from A to B which are counted. As the air gap increases by /2 for each band, 1=(N1*/2). in the second observation, the gauge top lies along A1B1, the number of bands N2 for this position are counted to get 2=(N2*/2). from the geometry of the figure, it can be seen that A1B=AB1= and hence, =(2- 1)/2 thus the error in parallelism can be calculated by using above equation.

this instrument is also know as the NPL type length interferometer. It is used for determinig actual dimensions or absolute length of the gauges. figure shows the schematic arrangement of this interferometer. The light from the sources falls on slit through considering lens.

After collimation by lens, it goes through constant deviation prism whose rotation determines wavelength passed through reference optical flat to upper surface of gauge block and base plate to which it is wrung. Light is reflected back in mirror and its patterns are observed through a telescope. The fringe pattern obtained is show in the field of view in figure. the optical flat is adjustable for inclination in two plans, so that pitch and direction of the interference fringes may be set to the best position. the gauge on this instrument will be absolutely flat and parallel and hence the bands on bands on the gauge top the base will be of the same pitch and direction, but relatively displacement from each other. this displacement is recorded for each colour as a fraction of the pitch of the fringes and is used for calculation of the length of the gauge. the displacement observed a, is expressed as a fraction of the fringe spacing b, i.e. f=a/b.

distance(XZ)=(p+f)/2,and distance(YZ)=q/2. then the length of the gauge , l=(p+f) /2 q/2 l= /2(p-q+f) = /2(N+f) let the observed fractions for three different wavelengths be f1,f2 and f3 and the corresponding integers i.e. full number of fringes be N1,N2,N3, respectively for lights of wavelengths 1, 2, 3 respectively.

since the length of the gauge is same, l= 1 /2(N1+f1)= 2 /2(N2+f2) = 3 /2(N3+f3) the nominal height of the gauge is know to us told previously. For nominal height, the fraction will be different and they can also be calculated by knowing the wavelengths of lights. now the difference between the actual length of the gauge and the nominal length will be 1 /2(N1+f1-N1-f1) = 2 /2(N2+f2-N2f2) = 3 /2(N3+f3-N3-f3)

PRECISION OPTICAL FLATS An optical flat is a precisely polished flat surface, used as a reference against which the flatness of an unknown surface may be compared. Edmund Optics offers both single surface and dual surface optical flats in either Zerodur or Fused Silica. The accuracy of an optical flat is measured in fractions of a reference wavelength, 632.8nm. A 1/20 wave flat will have a maximum peak to valley deviation of 632.8/20 or 31.64nm. We offer five different levels of accuracy for our single surface flats: 1/4 wave, 1/10 wave, 1/20 wave, 1/60 wave and 1/100wave. For our dual surface flats, 1/4, 1/10 and 1/20 accuracies are available.

When an optical flat's polished surface is placed in contact with a surface to be tested, dark and light bands will be formed when viewed with monochromatic light. These bands are known as interference fringes and their shape gives a visual representation of the flatness of the surface being tested. The surface accuracy is indicated by the amount of curve and spacing between the interference fringes. Straight, parallel, and evenly spaced interference fringes indicate that the work surface flatness is equal to or higher than that of the reference surface. Optical flats in case. About 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter.

An optical flat utilizes the property of interference to exhibit the flatness on a desired surface. When an optical flat, also known as a test plate, and a work surface are placed in contact, an air wedge is formed. Areas between the flat and the work surface that are not in contact form this air wedge. The change in thickness of the air wedge will dictate the shape and orientation of the interference bands. The amount of curvature that is shown by the interference bands can be used to determine the flatness of the surface. If the air wedge is too large, then many closely spaced lines can appear, making it difficult to analyze the pattern formed. Simply applying pressure to the top of the optical flat alleviates the problem.

The primary surface of all Edmund Optics optical flats is precision ground and polished to the stated accuracy and is tested and certified on our Zygo GPI-XP Interferometer. The secondary surface of our single surface flats is pitch polished to window quality only for viewing the interference pattern. Each flat comes with a certificate of calibration (1/20 only) and its own storage case for permanent protection.

Measurement of the surface flatness of polished surfaces can be determined visually by comparing the variations between a work surface and the surface of an optical flat. Optical flats are versatile optical components used in many applications, such as: inspection of gauge blocks for wear and accuracy, as well as the testing of various components including windows, prisms, filters, mirrors, etc. They can also be used as extremely flat optical windows for demanding interferometry requirements. Optical flats being used to calibrate metal parts.

Testing flatness of surfaces with optical flats. The lefthand surface is flat, the righthand surface is uneven. Thus, in case of a perfectly flat surface, we will have pattern of alternate light and dark straight lines on the surface, as shown in fig. any deviation from this pattern will be a measure of the error in the flatness of the surface being inspected. the pitch of the bands depends on the angle of the wedge and it can be easily seen that increase in this angle reduces the pitch.

Two point interference in a ripple tank. For interference in radio communications, see Interference (communication). In physics, interference is a phenomenon in which two waves superimpose to form a resultant wave of greater or lower amplitude. Interference usually refers to the interaction of waves that are correlated or coherent with each other, either because they come from the same source or because they have the same or nearly the same frequency. Interference effects can be observed with all types of waves, for example, light, radio, acoustic, and surface water waves.

The principle of superposition of waves states that when two or more waves are incident on the same point, the total displacement at that point is equal to the vector sum of the displacements of the individual waves. If a crest of a wave meets a crest of another wave of the same frequency at the same point, then the magnitude of the displacement is the sum of the individual magnitudes this is constructive interference. If a crest of one wave meets a trough of another wave then the magnitude of the displacements is equal to the difference in the individual magnitudes this is known as destructive interference.

Geometrical arrangement for two plane wave interference

Interference fringes in overlapping plane waves

A simple form of interference pattern is obtained if two plane waves of the same frequency intersect at an angle. One wave is travelling horizontally, and the other is travelling downwards at an angle to the first wave. Assuming that the two waves are in phase at the point B, then the relative phase changes along the x-axis. The phase difference at the point A is given by =2d/ =2x sin/ The fringes are observed wherever the two waves overlap and the fringe spacing is uniform throughout.

A point source produces a spherical wave. If the light from two point sources overlaps, the interference pattern maps out the way in which the phase difference between the two waves varies in space. This depends on the wavelength and on the separation of the point sources. The figure to the right shows interference between two spherical waves. The wavelength increases from top to bottom, and the distance between the sources increases from left to right. When the plane of observation is far enough away, the fringe pattern will be a series of almost straight lines, since the waves will then be almost planar.

How interference works. The gap between the surfaces and the wavelength of the light waves is greatly exaggerated. See diagram (right). The upper object is a section of the optical flat, the lower object a section of the test surface it is resting on. Unless the two surfaces are exactly flat and parallel, there will be a tiny gap between them.

Constructive interference: At surface locations (b) where the path length difference between the two rays is equal to an even multiple of half a wavelength (/2) of the light waves, the reflected waves will be in phase, so the "troughs" and "peaks" of the waves coincide. Therefore the waves will reinforce (add) and the resulting light intensity will be greater. As a result a bright area will be observed there. Destructive interference: At other locations (a) where the path length difference is equal to an odd multiple of a halfwavelength, the reflected waves will be 180 out of phase, so a "trough" of one wave coincides with a "peak" of the other wave. Therefore the waves will cancel (subtract) and the resulting light intensity will be weaker or zero. As a result a dark area will be observed there. If the gap between the surfaces is not constant, this interference results in a pattern of bright and dark lines or bands called "interference fringes" being observed on the surface. These are similar to contour lines on maps, revealing the height differences of the bottom test surface. The gap between the surfaces is constant along a fringe. The path length difference between two adjacent bright or dark fringes is one wavelength of the light, so the difference in the gap between the surfaces is one-half wavelength.