Abstract

The use of a long, thermally stable Fabry-Perot etalon as a refractometer is considered in detail in this study of the refractive index of air. The etalon consists of two flat plates of fused silica 60 mm in diameter, with a cylindrical spacer made of Zerodur (a polycrystalline glass ceramic of extremely low thermal expansion) 200 mm long. The interferogram of light from a frequency-stabilized He–Ne laser is imaged with large-diameter mirror optics. The principal result is a demonstration of the effects of changes in atmospheric pressure on the etalon. The measured refractive-index values deviate by 2 parts in 107 from calculated values. Possible causes of error are considered in detail.

© 1987 Optical Society of America

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