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Numerical model estimating the capabilities and limitations of the fast Fourier transform technique in absolute interferometry

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Abstract

Anumerical model was developed to emulate the capabilities of systems performing noncontact absolute distance measurements. The model incorporates known methods to minimize signal processing and digital sampling errors and evaluates the accuracy limitations imposed by spectral peak isolation by using Hanning, Blackman, and Gaussian windows in the fast Fourier transform technique. We applied this model to the specific case of measuring the relative lengths of a compound Michelson interferometer. By processing computer-simulated data through our model, we project the ultimate precision for ideal data, and data containing AM–FM noise. The precision is shown to be limited by nonlinearities in the laser scan.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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