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White light interferometer


White Light Interferometer for Precise Testing of the Large-Aperture Optics

Tech Area / Field

  • PHY-OPL/Optics and Lasers/Physics

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Russian Academy of Sciences / Institute of Applied Physics, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., N. Novgorod

Supporting institutes

  • VNIIEF, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., Sarov


  • University of Florida / Department of Physics, USA, FL, Caipesville

Project summary

The project is aimed for developing and studying the method of the broadband high-coherence optical interferometry used for precision 3D testing the large-size optical surfaces.

There is a large variety of techniques and devices to evaluate the quality of optical surface processing with accuracy of 10 ё 30 nm (l/20 ё l/50). However the requirements for accuracy of processing and shape control in optical surfaces are constantly increasing. The currently available precision methods and devices for control with accuracy up to units of angstrom either perform point-by-point measurements of profiles (stylus, scanning tunneling optical microscope [1-2]) or simultaneously measure profiles in surface regions not exceeding several mm (heterodyne interferometry, scanning focus-sensing method, phase-shifting interferometry [3-9]). In these methods the measurement procedure generally requires high-precision movements of either device units or a sample being studied. Therefore at the relatively high accuracy of the profile measurements the available methods become useless for profile control of surfaces with sizes of 10 mm and larger.

The problem calls for the development of methods and devices that combine high accuracy (up to 1 nm), broad field (250 mm and more in diameter) and high speed (up to
-1ё10-2 s) of measurements. This problem can potentially be solved by using the broadband high-coherence optical interferometry method which was developed by the authors of the Project and has no world analogues [10-12]. The method was applied to perform absolute measurements of a mirror surface profile for a test mass of a gravitational wave laser detector for a Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory project (LIGO). Currently the IAP RAS research team is part of the international LIGO corporation, being responsible for elaboration of control methods for LIGO detector test masses optical parameters. This fact attests on the recognition and expertise of project participants [13-14].

The leading institution of the Project is the Institute of Applied Physics of the Russian Academy of Science (IAP RAS). IAP RAS performs engineering and technological development, produces units of experimental setups and models, performs computations and numerical modeling of complex optical systems, carries out experiments and analyzes the results. The IAP RAS collaborators have the rich research experience of theoretical and experimental studies in the development, production and absolute calibration of precision optical systems as well as in the investigation of the physics of subtle light-matter interaction effects. IAP RAS has an up-to-date technological and production basis for creation and precise control of optical components.

The other participant of the Project is Federal State Unitary Enterprise “Russian Federal Nuclear Center – All-Russia Research Institute of Experimental Physics” (FSUP RFNC-VNIIEF). This institute participates in the engineering and technological development, production and testing of experimental setup units and models; performs aberration computations and numerical modeling of complex optical systems; carries out experimental studies and analyses the results obtained. The collaborators of group participating in the Project have substantial experience in the development and creation of precision large-aperture optical systems with the radiation conversion into second harmonic based on nonlinear KD*P crystals as well as in numerical modeling of wave processes and their experimental study. They are also experienced in the design and investigation of opto-electronic and opto-mechanical units of high power laser systems [15-17].

The Project mainly relates to basic research. In addition to investigations it is supposed to develop the theory of the high-order wide-band optical interferometry and on the basis of developed principles to create a family of white light interferometers for various purposes including the precise surface control of flat and spherical large-aperture optical elements.

The Project will help to implement a main ISTC objectives:

  • A large group of scientists and experts previously involved in defense-related activity will reorient their work to peace activity. Twenty arms scientists participate in the Project.
  • A large amount of new important scientific information will be obtained. This information will be available for all concerned parties.

The Project will facilitate an integration of Russian scientists into the international scientific community. The Project will involve rich experience, methodology and material resources accumulated by participating institutions.


  1. Bennett J.M.; Tehrani, Mohammad M.; Jahanmir, Jay; Podlesny, John C.; Balter, Tami L., Topographic measurements of supersmooth dielectric films made with a mechanical profiler and a scanning force microscope, Applied Optics, 1995, v. 34, 209-212
  2. Bichihin S.A., Gallyamov M.O., Potemkin V.V., Stepanov A.V., Yaminsky I.V., Scanning tunneling microscope – measurement tool of nanoelectronics, Measured techniques, 1998, N 4, с. 58-61.
  3. Huang C.-C., Оptical heterodyne profilometer, Optical Engineering, 1984, v.23, N.4, 365
  4. Schmitt, D-R, Ringel, G, Kratz, F., Roughness measurement on supersmooth surfaces with an optical heterodyne profiler, SPIE, 1994, v.2004, 164-172
  5. Tsuguo Kohno, Norimitsu Ozawa, Kozo Miyamoto, Tohru Musha, High precision optical surface sensor, Applied Optics, 1988, v.27, 103-107.
  6. Adachi M., Miki H, Nakai Y, Kawaguchi I., Optical precision profilometer using the differential method, Optics Letter, 1987, v.12, N. 10, 792-797.
  7. Wang X., Sasaki O., Taketrayashi Y., Suzuki T., Maruyama T., Sinusoidal phase-modulating Fizeau interferometer using selfpumped phase conjugator for surface profile measurements, Optical Engineering, 1994, v.33, 2670-2674
  8. Schwider J., White-light Fizeau interferometer., Applied Optics, 1997, v. 36, N. 7, P. 1433-1437.
  9. Olszak, Artur, Lateral Scanning White-Light Interferometer, Applied Optics, 2000, v.39, 3906-3911
  10. Kozhevatov I.E., Kulikova E.H., Cheragin N.P., A method and a device for high-precision monitoring of optical surface profiles, Journal of Optical Technology, 1997, v. 64, N 9, 838-842
  11. Kozhevatov I.E., Kulikova E.H., Interferometric methods for surface testing. I. High-order white light interferometer, Instruments and Experimental Techniques, 2001, v.,44, 84-87
  12. Rudenchik E.A., Kozhevatov I.E., Cheragin N.P., Kulikova E., Bezrukova E.G., Method for absolute calibration of reference plates for interferometric inspection of surfaces, optics and spectroscopy, 2001, v. 90, N 1, 113-120.
  13. Andreev N.F., Khazanov E.A., Kozhevatov I.E., Mal'shakov A.K., Poteomkin A.K., Sergeev A.M., Application of high-precision measurements techniques for in situ characterization of optical components under LIGO II Conditions, LSC Meeting August 13 - 16, 2001, Hanford WA, USA.
  14. Andreev N.F., Khazanov E.A., Kozhevatov I.E., Mal'shakov A.K., Poteomkin A.K., Sergeev A.M., Shaykin A.A., Remote in situ Monitoring of Weak Distortions, LSC Meeting, August 19-22, 2002, Hanford WA, USA. (
  15. Dolgopolov А.V., Lvov L.V., Мurugov V.М., Ozerov М.А., Punin V.Т., Ryadov A.V., Wavefront formed by the optical system of the ISKRA-5 facility, Quantum Electronics, 1994, v.24, N.11, 930-932.
  16. Lvov L.V., Мerculov S.G., Ozerov М.А., Ryadov A.V., Application of the Hartmann method in the investigation of the profile of wavefronts of high-power pulsed lasers, Quantum Electronics, 1994, v. 24, N.11, 979-981
  17. Vlokh G.V., Korzenev A.N., Lisenkov A.V., Lvov L.V., Pikulev A.A., Frolova S.V., Interferometric research on thermophysical parameters in gas-flow laser channels, The
    th International Conference “Atomic and Molecular Pulsed Lasers” Conference Proceedings. – Tomsk: Institute of Atmospheric Optics SB RAN, 2001. – P.19.


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