Optical metrology is the science and technology concerning measurements with light. Such measurements can either target properties of light and light sources or properties of objects such as dimensions, distances and temperatures.
Some examples of optical metrology are:
- Optical distance measurements with lasers can be based on, e.g., interferometers or measurements of the time-of-flight of light pulses.
- Optical frequency metrology deals with high-precision measurements of optical frequencies (→ optical clocks).
- Optical powers can be measured with photodiodes, thermal powermeters, or other equipment.
- Spectral optical properties are measured with devices like spectrographs or other spectrometers, wavemeters and self-heterodyne setups.
- Optical profilometers are widely used for measuring surface topographies, e.g. in semiconductor chip production and for the quality control in optical fabrication.
- Optical temperature measurements may be based on the analysis of the thermal emission of hot bodies, or rely on the measurement of occupation probabilities for energy levels of atoms or molecules.
- Optical irradiation and illumination measurements can address either some pure physical quantity such as an optical intensity (power per unit area) (radiometry) or something like a perceived brightness (photometry).
In many cases, optical metrology can be extremely precise and is ultimately limited by laser noise.
The RP Photonics Buyer's Guide contains 31 suppliers for optical metrology equipment. Among them:
See also: frequency metrology, optical clocks, interferometers, distance measurements with lasers, optical profilometers, laser noise, spectrometers, wavemeters
and other articles in the category optical metrology
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