Optical metrology is the science and technology concerning measurements with light. Such measurements can either target properties of light itself or other properties such as some distance.
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).
- There are devices for optical wavelength and linewidth measurements, based on, e.g., self-heterodyne interferometers.
- optical powers can be measured with photodiodes, thermal powermeters, or other equipment.
- 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 finally limited by laser noise.
The RP Photonics Buyer's Guide contains 25 suppliers for optical metrology equipment. Among them:
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