29 September 2004 Absolute distance metrology for space interferometers
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Abstract
Space interferometers consisting of several free flying telescopes, such as the planned Darwin mission, require a complex metrology system to make all the components operate as a single instrument. Our research focuses on one of its sub-systems that measures the absolute distance between two satellites with high accuracy. For Darwin the required accuracy would be in the order of 10 μm over 250 meter. To measure this absolute distance, we are currently exploring the frequency sweeping interferometry technique. Its measurement principle is to first measure a phase in the interferometer, sweep a tunable laser over a known frequency interval and finally measure a second phase. By also counting the number of fringes during the sweep it is possible to determine the absolute path length difference without ambiguities. The wavelength at the endpoints of the sweep is stabilized on a Fabry-Perot cavity. In this way the unknown distance is directly referenced to the length of the Fabry-Perot cavity.
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Bas L. Swinkels, Bas L. Swinkels, Thijs J. Wendrich, Thijs J. Wendrich, Nandini Bhattacharya, Nandini Bhattacharya, Arno A. Wielders, Arno A. Wielders, Joseph J.M. Braat, Joseph J.M. Braat, } "Absolute distance metrology for space interferometers", Proc. SPIE 5495, Astronomical Structures and Mechanisms Technology, (29 September 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.551270; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.551270
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