Testing for flatness of an optical parallel plate in a Fizeau interferometer suffers from problems caused by multiple-beam interference noise. Each internal-reflection component can be separated from the signal by its modulation frequency in a wavelength-scanned interferometer; however, the frequency depends on the thickness and the refractive-index dispersion of the test plate and on the nonlinearity of the scanning source. With a new 19-sample wavelength-scanning algorithm we demonstrate the elimination of the reflection noise, the effect of the dispersion up to the second order of the reflectance of the test plate, and as the nonlinearity of the source. The algorithm permits large tolerance in the air-gap distance, thus making it somewhat independent of the thickness of the test plate. The minimum residual reflection noise with this algorithm for testing a glass plate is ∼λ/600. Experimental results show that the front surface of the test plate was measured within 1 nm rms of its true shape over a 230-mm-diameter aperture.
© 2003 Optical Society of America
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