Abstract

A wide-angle Michelson interferometer with large air gap is proposed to effectively reduce the size of the glass arms and constraint on material. It provides a novel and practical instrument for ground based wind measurement of the upper atmosphere. The field widening conditions for the large air gap are calculated in theory. For the five spectral lines of 557.7nm, 630.0nm, 732.0nm, 834.6nm, and 865.7nm, the optimal results under ideal condition are obtained with air gaps of 1.0cm, 1.5cm, and 2.0cm, respectively. With the fixed optical path difference (OPD) of 7.495cm, three pairs of glass arms are optimized. The pair with length of 1.5cm for air gap, 5.765cm for H-ZF12, and 2.956cm for H-ZLaF54, has better effect of field widening than the other two pairs and its OPD variation is only within 0.30 wavelengths at incident angle of 3°. For developing a more practical wide-angle Michelson interferometer, the H-K9L glass with size of 4.445cm is employed as the arm material of solid interferometer. The experiment for field of view of 3° is designed and the data processing and analysis for 60 images show the agreement between experimental results and theoretical simulation. The OPD variations are only within 0.27 wavelengths for image edge. The feasibility and practicality of the wide-angle Michelson interferometer with large air gap is proved by means of theory and experiment.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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