Abstract

The present paper presents an interpretation of the validity of calculating weighted averages of interferometrically measured wavelengths to be used as secondary standards of length. Weighted averages of all the reported measurements of the wavelengths of thorium are obtained using the Ritz combination principle. A statistical analysis is also performed and the measurements are tested for internal and external consistency as well as for self-consistency. It is shown that there are systematic shifts between the different experiments which, when eliminated, permit calculation of a highly accurate set of Ritz standards that can be used as secondary standards of length. Finally it is concluded that the major part of the observed systematic shifts results from the differences in the standards used to calibrate the interferometers rather than from the light sources. Some of the conclusions of this work are also applicable to other interferometric measurements.

© 1970 Optical Society of America

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