Abstract

This paper presents a novel approach to simultaneously measuring the thickness and refractive index of a sample. The design uses an electronically controlled tunable lens (ECTL) and a microelectromechanical-system-based digital micromirror device (DMD). The method achieves the desired results by using the DMD to characterize the spatial profile of a Gaussian laser beam at different focal length settings of the ECTL. The ECTL achieves tunable lensing through minimal motion of liquid inside a transparent casing, whereas the DMD contains an array of movable micromirrors, which make it a reflective spatial light modulator. As the proposed system uses an ECTL, a DMD, and other fixed optical components, it measures the thickness and refractive index without requiring any motion of bulk components such as translational and rotational stages. A motion-free system improves measurement repeatability and reliability. Moreover, the measurement of sample thickness and refractive index can be completely automated because the ECTL and DMD are controlled through digital signals. We develop and discuss the theory in detail to explain the measurement methodology of the proposed system and present results from experiments performed to verify the working principle of the method. Refractive index measurement accuracies of 0.22% and 0.2% were achieved for two BK-7 glass samples used, and the thicknesses of the two samples were measured with a 0.1 mm accuracy for each sample, corresponding to a 0.39% and 0.78% measurement error, respectively, for the aforementioned samples.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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