A new interferometry configuration combines the strengths of two existing interferometry methods, improving the quality and extending the dynamic range of both. On the same patterned mask, placed near the image-plane of an optical system under test, patterns for phase-shifting point diffraction interferometry and lateral shearing interferometry coexist. The former giving verifiable high accuracy for the measurement of nearly diffraction-limited optical systems. The latter enabling the measurement of optical systems with more than one wave of aberration in the system wavefront. The interferometry configuration is a hybrid shearing and point diffraction interferometer system for testing an optical element that is positioned along an optical path including: a source of electromagnetic energy in the optical path; a first beam splitter that is secured to a device that includes means for maneuvering the first beam splitter in a first position wherein the first beam splitter is in the optical path dividing light from the source into a reference beam and a test beam and in a second position wherein the first beam splitter is outside the optical path: a hybrid mask which includes a first section that defines a test window and at least one reference pinhole and a second section that defines a second beam splitter wherein the hybrid mask is secured to a device that includes means for maneuvering either the first section or the second section into the optical path positioned in an image plane that is created by the optical element, with the proviso that the first section of the hybrid mask is positioned in the optical path when first beam splitter is positioned in the optical path; and a detector positioned after the hybrid mask along the optical path.
The U.S. Government has certain rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC03-76SF00098 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.