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Subpicometer length measurement using heterodyne laser interferometry and all-digital rf phase meters

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Abstract

We present an all-digital phase meter for precision length measurements using heterodyne laser interferometry. Our phase meter has a phase sensitivity of 3μrad/Hz at signal frequencies of 1Hz and above. We test the performance of our phase meter in an optical heterodyne interferometric configuration, using an active Sagnac interferometer test bed that is flexible and low noise. We demonstrate more than 70dB of laser frequency noise suppression to achieve an optical phase sensitivity of 5μrad/Hz and a corresponding displacement sensitivity of 0.5pm/Hz at signal frequencies above 10Hz. In addition, we demonstrate the ability of our phase meter to follow full fringe signals accurately at 100Hz and to track large signal excursions in excess of 105 fringes without cycle slipping. Finally, we demonstrate a cyclic error of 1pm/Hz, above 10Hz.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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