We herewith present a time-domain low coherent interferometer capable of measuring any kind of infrared material (e.g., Ge, Si, etc.) as well as VIS materials. The fiber-optic set-up is based on a Michelson-Interferometer in which the light from a broadband super-luminescent diode is split into a reference arm with a variable optical delay and a measurement arm where the sample is placed. On a photo detector, the reflected signals from both arms are superimposed and recorded as a function of the variable optical path. Whenever the group delay difference is zero, a coherence peak occurs and the relative lens’ surface distances are derived from the optical delay. In order to penetrate IR materials, the instrument operates at 2.2 μm.
The set-up allows the contactless determination of thicknesses and air gaps inside of assembled infrared objective lenses with accuracy in the micron range. It therefore is a tool for the precise manufacturing or quality control.