Abstract

Interferometers are key elements in radial velocity (RV) experiments in astronomy observations, and accurate calibration of the group delay of an interferometer is required for high precision measurements. A novel field-compensated white light scanning Michelson interferometer is introduced as an interfero meter calibration tool. The optical path difference (OPD) scanning was achieved by translating a compensation prism, such that even if the light source were in low spatial coherence, the interference stays spatially phase coherent over a large interferometer scanning range. In the wavelength region of 500560nm, a multimode fiber-coupled LED was used as the light source, and high optical efficiency was essential in elevating the signal-to-noise ratio of the interferogram signal. The achromatic OPD scanning required a one-time calibration, and two methods using dual-laser wavelength references and an iodine absorption spectrum reference were employed and cross-verified. In an experiment measuring the group delay of a fixed Michelson interferometer, Fourier analysis was employed to process the interferogram data. The group delay was determined at an accuracy of 1×105, and the phase angle precision was typically 2.5×106 over the wide wavelength region.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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