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7 March 2006 Detection and compensation of misalignment for interferometric diagnostic tools applied in space-borne facilities
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Interferometry as a highly sensitive non-invasive optical diagnostic tool needs intrinsically a thermal and mechanical well controlled environment. In opposition to the situation on ground space applications have severe constraints concerning volume, mass, modularity, etc.. This results in a more complex structure of an optical/mechanical set-up connected with stability problems, e.g. a folded optical path passing through more than one structural element in a more or less uncontrolled thermal environment. Thermo-mechanical deformations of the set-up can lead to significant errors in the resulting interferograms, especially for long term measurements, e.g. in crystal growth experiments. These deformations are subject to active compensation and alignment techniques, respectively. In this paper an active as well as a passive system developed for the compensation of optical effects caused by thermal induced deformations in space-borne interferometers is presented. The active system is able to detect wavefront tilting and curvature errors and to compensate them by means of piezoelectric driven optical components. An interferometer concept including Holographic Interferometry, ESPI and Shearing Interferometry and the misalignment detection as well as the compensation system are realised in a breadboard based on the interferometer design which will be integrated in the Fluid Science Laboratory (FSL) of the International Space Station (ISS). Extensive tests using the integrated interferometers show the suitability of the proposed compensation technique, not only for experiments in space but also for ground applications.
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Volker Kebbel, Hans-Juergen Hartmann, Werner P. O. Jueptner, Ulf Schnars, Laura Gatti, and Joachim Becker "Detection and compensation of misalignment for interferometric diagnostic tools applied in space-borne facilities", Proc. SPIE 4101, Laser Interferometry X: Techniques and Analysis, (7 March 2006);

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