New approach to interferometry enables measurement of smaller phase changes than conventional Michelson interferometer, resulting in improved resolution and better sensitivity in comparison to conventional Michelson interferometer .
The new radial-polarization interferometer (RPI) combines the concepts of spatially inhomogeneous polarization fields (other than circular, elliptical, or linear) with orthogonal-polarization interferometry to generate a spatially varying intensity pattern along the beam. This yields additional spatial and phase information which improves displacement and phase-change measurements.
The radial-polarization interferometer (RPI) uses inhomogeneous, orthogonally polarized beams in the experimental setup that produce a spatially and intensity varying beam pattern (left) unlike the constant-intensity output from a Michelson interferometer (right). The RPI beam pattern yields additional information that improves phase measurements. (Courtesy of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Minimum detectable phase change in the RPI is, on average, 3-4 orders of magnitude smaller compared with the Michelson interferometer, allowing the measurement of much smaller displacements.
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Applications in atomic-level measurements in research laboratories, semiconductor fabrication, optics, remote sensing, metrology.