Intrinsic Sensitivity Limitations in Classical Interferometry

  • James W. Wagner
  • James B. Spicer


Optical Interferometry has long been seen as the technology with the greatest promise for providing noncontact detection for ultrasonic and acoustic emission testing. Such techniques, once fully developed, would provide couplant-free operation using only a light beam which could be scanned easily over the surface of the specimen under test. Unfortunately, there is considerable development which must take place before optical transducers can replace contact transducers for a number of testing applications. While interferometers perform quite well in the laboratory, such systems are designed usually for a specific experimental task and are not suited for general testing applications. Many of the limitations on the application of interferometric detectors are practical ones imposed, for example, by the need for surface preparation or the nature of the acoustic signal being detected. Underlying such practical limitations, there exist certain intrinsic limits to performance set by the physical properties which govern the operation of the various interferometer systems. Indeed, these intrinsic performance limits vary for the several system designs and must be understood before efforts to develop practical systems can be successful.


Reference Path Surface Disturbance Interferometric System Path Length Difference Ultimate Performance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    A. Ambrozy, “Electronic Noise,” McGraw-Hill International, New York (1982).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Th Kwaaitaal, B. J. Luymes and G. A. van der Pijll, Noise limitations of Michelson laser interferometers, J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 13 (1980).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    I. S. Gradshteyn and I. M. Ryzhik, “Table of Integrals, Series, and Products,” Academic Press, New York (1980).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    R. M. De La Rue, R. F. Humphryes, I. M. Mason and E. A. Ash, Acoustic-surface-wave amplitude and phase measurements using laser probes, Proc. IEE 119:2 (1972).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    J. E. Bowers, R. L. Jungerman, B. T. Khuri-Yakub and G. S. Kino, An All Fiber-Optic Sensor for Surface Acoustic Wave Measurements, J. Lightwave Tech. LT-1:2 (1983).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    D. A. Jackson, A. Dandridge and S. K. Sheem, Measurement of small phase shifts using a single-mode optical-fiber interferometer, Opt Lett 5:4 (1980).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    R. Ulrich, S. C. Rashleigh and W. Eickhoff, Bending-induced birefringence in single-mode fibers, Opt Lett 5:6 (1980).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • James W. Wagner
    • 1
  • James B. Spicer
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Nondestructive EvaluationThe Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

Personalised recommendations