Micro-optic components and subsystems are becoming increasingly important in optical sensors, communications, data storage, and many other diverse applications. To adequately predict the performance of the final system, it is important to understand the element's effect on the wavefront as it propagates through the system. The wavefront can be measured using interferometric means, however, random and systematic errors contribute to the measurement. Self-calibration techniques exploit symmetries of the measurement or averaging techniques to separate the systematic errors of the instrument from the errors in the test lens. If the transmitted wavefront of a ball lens is measured in a number of random orientations and the measurements are averaged, the only remaining deviations from a perfect wavefront will be spherical aberration from the ball lens and the systematic errors of the interferometer. If the radius, aperture, and focal length of the ball lens are known, the spherical aberration can be calculated and subtracted, leaving only the systematic errors of the interferometer. We develop the theory behind the technique and illustrate the approach with a description of the calibration of a microinterferometer used to measure the transmitted wavefront error of micro-optics.
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