Abstract

The phase ambiguity in conventional interferometers can be removed by using two laser diodes of different optical frequencies to generate a synthetic wavelength. However, the stability requirements for a two-color interferometric laser gauge that must provide unambiguous determination of the optical fringe order over a large distance can be severe. We derive upper limits on the optical wavelength uncertainty and express them as a function of optical path difference between the object and reference beams, phase measurement errors, and the synthetic wavelength. A simple stabilization arrangement is proposed, involving simultaneous servo control of both lasers with a single Fabry–Perot étalon. The experimental implementation of the proposed system demonstrates its effectiveness for long-term (16-h) stabilized two-color interferometry over a distance of 250 mm, with a 15-mm synthetic wavelength and a repeatability of 40 nm. For periods of < 1000 s, the repeatability was 8 nm.

© 1991 Optical Society of America

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