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Optical Homogeneity Testing Methods

Optical Homogeneity Measurements
An important property of an optical component is the homogeneity of the refractive index of the material from which it is made. Variations in the material's refractive index will affect the wavefront passing through it. ZYGO provides three different options for accurately measuring optical homogeneity.

Oil-on Plates - This traditional method of measuring optical homogeneity requires two glass plates with polished surfaces, and immersion oil with the same index of refraction as the test sample. Two measurements are taken, one with just the two glass plates, and one with the sample sandwiched between them, immersed in the oil. The first measurement is subtracted from the second to calculate the homogeneity of the sample. While potentially messy and time consuming, this method's advantage is that the sample's surfaces do not have to be polished.

PHom Application - This application is built-in to Mx™ software and can be used with Verifire™ and DynaFiz® interferometers. As with the oil-on plate technique, the PHom application requires two measurements (with and without the test sample); but has the advantage that the immersion oil is not needed, thus saving time and money, and eliminating exposure to potentially hazardous material. However; the test sample must have wedge in order to differentiate its surfaces from the reference surfaces.

Verifire™ MST - Offers a revolutionary new approach to measuring optical homogeneity. As with the PHom application, no immersion oil is required. However; unlike the PHom technique, the test sample does not need to have wedge. Sophisticated software algorithms accurately differentiate between all four surfaces in the cavity to provide simultaneous measurements of the sample's front and back surfaces, physical and optical thickness variation, nonlinear homogeneity and, for the first time, linear homogeneity.

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