An absolute distance interferometer with two external cavity diode lasers
An absolute interferometer for length measurements in the range of several metres has been developed. The use of two external cavity diode lasers allows the implementation of a two-step procedure which combines the length measurement with a variable synthetic wavelength and its interpolation with a fixed synthetic wavelength. This synthetic wavelength is obtained at 42 m by a modulation-free stabilization of both lasers to Doppler-reduced rubidium absorption lines. A stable reference interferometer is used as length standard. Different contributions to the total measurement uncertainty are discussed. It is shown that the measurement uncertainty can considerably be reduced by correcting the influence of vibrations on the measurement result and by applying linear regression to the quadrature signals of the absolute interferometer and the reference interferometer. The comparison of the absolute interferometer with a counting interferometer for distances up to 2 m results i n a linearity error of 0.4 m in good agreement with an estimation of the measurement uncertainty.