Abstract

The intrinsic wavelength scale in a modern reference laser-controlled Michelson interferometer—sometimes referred to as the Connes advantage—offers excellent wavelength accuracy with relative ease. Truly superb wavelength accuracy, with total relative uncertainty in line position of the order of several parts in 108, should be within reach with single-point, multiplicative calibration. The need for correction of the wavelength scale arises from two practical effects: the use of a finite aperture, from which off-axis rays propagate through the interferometer, and imperfect geometric alignment of the sample beam with the reference beam and the optical axis of the moving mirror. Although an analytical correction can be made for the finite-aperture effect, calibration with a trusted wavelength standard is typically used to accomplish both corrections. Practical aspects of accurate calibration of an interferometer in the UV–visible region are discussed. Critical issues regarding accurate use of a standard external to the sample source and the evaluation and selection of an appropriate standard are addressed. Anomalous results for two different potential wavelength standards measured by Fabry–Perot interferometry (Ar II and 198Hg I) are observed.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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