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Full-field heterodyne interference microscope with spatially incoherent illumination

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Abstract

A heterodyne interference microscope arrangement for full-field imaging is described. The reference and object beams are formed with highly correlated, time-varying laser speckle patterns. The speckle illumination confers a confocal transfer function to the system, and by temporal averaging, the coherence noise that often degrades coherent full-field microscope images is suppressed. The microscope described is similar to a Linnik-type microscope and allows the use of high-numerical-aperture objective lenses, but the temporal coherence of the illumination permits the use of a low-power achromatic doublet in the reference arm. The use of a doublet simplifies alignment of the microscope and can reduce the cost. Preliminary results are presented that demonstrate full-field surface height precision of 1 nm rms.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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