Abstract

A rapid and convenient method has been developed to facilitate the alignment of the image-plane components of point-diffraction interferometers, including the phase-shifting point-diffraction interferometer. In real time, the Fourier transform of the detected image is used to calculate a pseudoimage of the electric field in the image plane of the test optic where the critical alignment of various optical components is performed. Reconstruction of the pseudoimage is similar to off-axis, Fourier transform holography. Intermediate steps in the alignment procedure are described. Fine alignment is aided by the introduction and optimization of a global-contrast parameter that is easily calculated from the Fourier transform. Additional applications include the alignment of image-plane apertures in general optical systems, the rapid identification of patterned image-plane alignment marks, and the probing of important image-plane field properties.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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