Abstract

The theory of wavefront analysis of a noncircular wavefront is given and applied for a systematic comparison of the use of annular and Zernike circle polynomials for the analysis of an annular wavefront. It is shown that, unlike the annular coefficients, the circle coefficients generally change as the number of polynomials used in the expansion changes. Although the wavefront fit with a certain number of circle polynomials is identically the same as that with the corresponding annular polynomials, the piston circle coefficient does not represent the mean value of the aberration function, and the sum of the squares of the other coefficients does not yield its variance. The interferometer setting errors of tip, tilt, and defocus from a four-circle-polynomial expansion are the same as those from the annular-polynomial expansion. However, if these errors are obtained from, say, an 11-circle-polynomial expansion, and are removed from the aberration function, wrong polishing will result by zeroing out the residual aberration function. If the common practice of defining the center of an interferogram and drawing a circle around it is followed, then the circle coefficients of a noncircular interferogram do not yield a correct representation of the aberration function. Moreover, in this case, some of the higher-order coefficients of aberrations that are nonexistent in the aberration function are also nonzero. Finally, the circle coefficients, however obtained, do not represent coefficients of the balanced aberrations for an annular pupil. The various results are illustrated analytically and numerically by considering an annular Seidel aberration function.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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