Practical Fabry-Perot displacement interferometry in ambient air conditions with subnanometer accuracy
Fabry-Perot displacement interferometry (FPI) offers high sensitivity and resolution with direct traceability to optical frequency standards. FPI can provide means for demanding calibration tasks in precision engineering and high-tech systems. We report on our investigation of the measurement methodology applied to highest precision capacitive displacement sensors. We use a dedicated metrological FPI instrumentation that provides an actuated reference target with a relatively large traceable displacement stroke. The envisaged sub-nanometer measurement uncertainty seems very challenging under practical ambient atmospheric conditions and with the necessary sensor mounting components. In anticipation of these limitations, we propose a new FPI instrumental configuration with a very short cavity and discuss expected benefits, most importantly the very low sensitivity to air refractive index variations and the versatility for practical calibration purposes. We aim again for sub-nanometer measurement uncertainty and report on the status of the experimental set-up for this short cavity FPI.