Abstract

Along with classical interferometers based on the principle of amplitude division of the light wave and creation of working and reference wave fronts, there are also interferometers, known as shearing interferometers, that are based on the principle of shearing the amplitude-split working wave front. They require no reference optical elements and are insensitive to vibrations. The main disadvantage of traditional shearing interferometers is the lack of obviousness and the comparative difficulty of interpreting the interference pattern in order to quantitatively evaluate the errors of the system being investigated. This paper is devoted to a solution of the indicated problem and opens up the path of computerized automatic interpretation of interferograms. This substantially simplifies the interpretation operations, makes them more efficient and obvious, and makes it possible to determine the quantitative characteristics of the errors and the quality of the system being investigated. This creates the conditions for using shearing interferometers in wide practice.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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