Importance of rotational beam alignment in the generation of second harmonic errors in laser heterodyne interferometry

J. M. De Freitas*, M. A. Player

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

53 Citations (Scopus)


We show, using a Jones matrix analysis, that rotating the two orthogonal linearly polarized inputs of a heterodyne interferometer relative to the polarizing beam splitter axes, produces second harmonic errors in an otherwise ideal interferometer. The error undergoes two cycles as the optical pathlength difference changes from 0 to 2pi. This behaviour is distinct from previously reported periodic errors resulting from polarization leakage and frequency mixing. It is found that as the angular misalignment increases, the amplitude of the periodic errors also increases, and may reach substantial values.

Original languageEnglish
Article number025
Pages (from-to)1173-1176
Number of pages4
JournalMeasurement Science and Technology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1993


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Mathematics

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