Abstract

We propose to use thin films to provide a drastic improvement of measurement sensitivity in the recently developed small-angle measurement method, namely, angle measurement based on the internal-reflection effect. By designing the thin films (single layer or multiple layers) so that they provide an antireflection effect in the vicinity of the critical angle, we show that the sensitivity of angle measurement can be increased exponentially with the increase of the number of thin-film layers. This method provides a new means of designing angle sensors with increased sensitivities without having to increase the number of reflections and therefore the physical size and the required fabrication accuracy of the reflection prisms. We describe the design of the thin films for this particular application and the analysis of measurement sensitivity and range as determined by the material and the number of layers of the thin films. Selection of the optimal initial angle for high linearity performance is also discussed.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

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