Abstract

We propose a computationally efficient theoretical model for low-coherence interferometric profilers that measure surface heights by scanning the optical path difference of the interferometer. The model incorporates both geometric and spectral effects by means of an incoherent superposition of ray bundles through the interferometer spanning a range of wavelengths, incident angles, and pupil plane coordinates. This superposition sum is efficiently performed in the frequency domain, followed by a Fourier transform to generate the desired simulated interference signal. Example applications include white-light interferometry, high-numerical-aperture microscopy with a near-monochromatic light source, and interference microscopy for thickness and topography analysis of thin-film structures and other complex surface features.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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