Abstract

A scatter plate interferometer is analyzed based on the principle of statistical optics for what is to my knowledge the first time. It is shown that the optical complex amplitude distribution of scattered-direct light that is scattered by the first scatter plate and transmitted through the second scatter plate is equivalent to the distribution of direct-scattered light that is transmitted through the first scatter plate and scattered by the second scatter plate if there are no aberrations in the tested optical elements. Then the mechanism producing interference fringes and fringe contrast are discussed by means of a statistical method. It is shown that the fringe pattern depends on the correlation of the transmittance distributions of the two scatter plates and the aberration of the tested lens. The analysis coincides with experimental phenomena. The method used gives a new viewpoint on the principles of scatter plate interferometry and reveals its statistical nature.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

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