Abstract

White-light interferometry measuring an optically rough surface commonly does not resolve the lateral structure of the surface. This means that there are height differences within one resolution cell that exceed one-fourth of the wavelength of the light used. Thus the following questions arise: Which height is measured by white-light interferometry? How does the surface roughness affect the measurement uncertainty? The goal of the presented paper is to answer these questions by means of numerical simulations. Before the aforementioned questions can be answered, the distribution of the intensity of individual speckles, the influence of surface roughness, and the spectral width of the light source used are discussed.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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