Abstract

A new technique for determining the surface figure of large submillimeter wavelength telescopes is presented, which is based on measuring the telescope’s focal plane diffraction pattern with a shearing interferometer. In addition to the instrumental theory, results obtained using such an interferometer on the 10.4-m diam telescope of the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory are discussed. Using wavelengths near 1 mm, a measurement accuracy of 9 μm, or λ/115, has been achieved, and the rms surface accuracy has been determined to be just under 30 μm. The distortions of the primary reflector with changing elevation angle have also been measured and agree well with theoretical predictions of the dish deformation.

© 1991 Optical Society of America

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