Abstract

We performed a direct side-by-side comparison of a Shack–Hartmann wave-front sensor and a phase-shifting interferometer for the purpose of characterizing large optics. An expansion telescope of our own design allowed us to measure the surface figure of a 400-mm-square mirror with both instruments simultaneously. The Shack–Hartmann sensor produced data that closely matched the interferometer data over spatial scales appropriate for the lenslet spacing, and much of the <20-nm rms systematic difference between the two measurements was due to diffraction artifacts that were present in the interferometer data but not in the Shack–Hartmann sensor data. The results suggest that Shack–Hartmann sensors could replace phase-shifting interferometers for many applications, with particular advantages for large-optic metrology.

© 2000 Optical Society of America

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