Abstract

Wavelength scanning interferometry and swept-source optical coherence tomography require accurate measurement of time-varying laser wavenumber changes. We describe here a method based on recording interferograms of multiple wedges to provide simultaneously high wavenumber resolution and immunity to the ambiguities caused by large wavenumber jumps. All the data required to compute a wavenumber shift are provided in a single image, thereby allowing dynamic wavenumber monitoring. In addition, loss of coherence of the laser light is detected automatically. The paper gives details of the analysis algorithms that are based on phase detection by a two-dimensional Fourier transform method followed by temporal phase unwrapping and correction for optical dispersion in the wedges. A simple but robust method to determine the wedge thicknesses, which allows the use of low-cost optical components, is also described. The method is illustrated with experimental data from a Ti:sapphire tunable laser, including independent wavenumber measurements with a commercial wavemeter. A root mean square (rms) difference in measured wavenumber shift between the two of 4m1 has been achieved, equivalent to an rms wavelength shift error of 0.4pm.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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