Determination of actual parameters of manufactured optical coatings (reverse engineering of optical coatings) provides feedback to the design-production chain and thus plays an important role in raising the quality of optical coatings production. In this paper, the reliability of reverse engineering results obtained using different types of experimental data is investigated. Considered experimental data include offline normal incidence transmittance data, offline ellipsometric data, and online transmittance monitoring data recorded during depositions of all coating layers. Experimental data are obtained for special test quarter-wave mirrors with intentional errors in some layers. These mirrors were produced by a well-calibrated magnetron-sputtering process. The intentional errors are several times higher than estimated errors of layer thickness monitoring, and the reliability of their detection is used as a measure of reliability of reverse engineering results. It is demonstrated that the most reliable results are provided by online transmittance data.
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