Abstract

An approach for compensating the influence of interrogator noises on the readings of interferometric sensors, interrogated by means of spectral interferometry with wavelength tuning, is proposed. Theoretical analysis and a proof-of-principle experiment were performed for the example of extrinsic Fabry–Perot interferometers. Two schemes, comprised of a signal and reference interferometers, switched in different optical channels of the interrogating unit, were proposed. The approach is based on the fact that the fluctuations of some of the interrogator parameters produce correlated fluctuations of the reference and signal interferometers’ optical path differences’ (OPDs) measured values. The fluctuations of the reference interferometer’s measured OPD can be subtracted from the measured OPD of the signal interferometer. The fluctuations of different parameters of the interrogator are considered, the correlation properties of the produced noises of the measured OPD values are demonstrated. The first scheme contains two interferometers with similar parameters and enabled a threefold resolution improvement in the performed experiments, when the difference of the interferometers OPDs was varied within about 10 nm. The second scheme contains two interferometers with OPDs difference such that all interrogator fluctuations, except for the dominating one, produce uncorrelated OPD errors. With the second scheme, a twofold resolution improvement was experimentally demonstrated when the interferometers’ OPDs difference was varied within more than 1 μm. The proposed approach can be used for improving the resolution of interferometric sensors with relatively large OPDs (greater than 200–300 μm), which can be advantageous for remote materials and surface inspection. The other potential application is the use of relatively simple cheap interrogators with poor wavelength scale repeatability for high-precision measurements.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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