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Optical Interferometer

Laser Interferometer
Shaikh Abdul Raashid
Metrology And Quality Control
Mechatronics Engineering
• An interferometer is a measuring instrument
which uses light wave interference
• In a typical interferometer monochromatic
light from a light source after being collimated
by a collimating lens falls on a partially
silvered mirror A
• Half of the light passes through the mirror to
the work piece and the table surface to be
reflected from there
• The other half is reflected to mirror B with a
fully silvered surface
• A flat piece of glass equal in thickness to
mirror A is introduced in the path of this light
just to equate the amount of glass plate in the
path of the two light halves
• After being reflected from mirror B this half of
light comes back to mirror A and passes
through its partially silvered surface to the eye
• The light returned from the work piece and
table is also reflected by the mirror in the
same direction
• If the paths taken by these two parts of light are
equal the work piece and table surface A appear
lightened to the eye but if these paths differ by
certain number of half wave lengths these
surface appears dark
• In order to use the interferometer for making
length measurements the table is slightly tilted so
that small interference bands appear on the table
and work piece surface
• By comparing the fringes obtained on the table
and work piece surfaces any variation in height of
the work piece can easily be determined
• When the interference bands on the work piece
surface and those on the table surface are
aligned, the height of the work piece surface
above the table surface is a full number of half
wave lengths of the light
• If the height of the work piece changes the work
piece fringes are displaced relative to the table
fringes, the displacement being proportional to
the variation of height of the work piece. Very
small variations in height less than half wave
length can thus be measured with the
interferometer which is considered as the most
accurate measuring instrument available
Advantage of Interferometer:
• Interferometer is faster and easier than that of
optical flats, and is considered as most
accurate measuring instrument,
• Hard to get accurate, 50% of the light can
be reflected back to the source
Laser Interferometer:
• A laser interferometer uses a LASER beam for
producing the interference effects, the
equipment consists of three basic units:
Sensor unit S, Reflector unit R and control and
display unit T
• The sensor unit is fixed and houses the laser
unit-L, collimating lens-A, beam splitter-B,
fixed mirrors D and E and photoelectric cell F
• The helium neon laser is commonly used.
• A beam from the laser gets divided into two
parts at the beam splitter
• One part passes through the beam splitter
and after internal reflection from the
prismatic reflector at A and B reaches the
mirror D
• After being reflected back from D it travels
back through the prismatic reflector to the
beam splitter where a portion of it is directed
to the photoelectric cell F
• The other part of the laser beam move
directly from the beam splitter B to fixed
mirror E and back to the photoelectric cell
• The path length of this portion is kept
• The reflector is attached to the object whose
displacement is to be measured
• Any displacement of the reflector unit leads to
the change in the path length of the portion that
passes through the reflector and leads to
Interference when the two parts rejoin at the
photoelectric cell
• the intensity of light falling on the photoelectric
cell varies according to the phase difference of
the two portions of the beam
• The displacement of the reflector causes a series
of pulses to be generated by photoelectric cell
• This pulses are counted electronically by the
control and display unit and converted to give
a digital display proportional to the
displacement of the reflector unit
• Since for a helium neon laser a pulse will be
produced for each 0.3164 micron
displacement this is the least displacement
that can be measured