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Measurement of the curvature of a surface using parallel light beams

United States Patent

June 15, 1999
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
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Apparatus for measuring curvature of a surface wherein a beam of collimated light is passed through means for producing a plurality of parallel light beams each separated by a common distance which then reflect off the surface to fall upon a detector that measures the separation of the reflected beams of light. This means can be an etalon and the combination of a diffractive element and a converging lens. The curvature of the surface along the line onto which the multiple beams fall can be calculated from this information. A two-dimensional map of the curvature can be obtained by adding a second etalon (or a second combination of a diffractive element and a converging lens) which is rotated about the optical axis relative to the first etalon and inclined at the same angle. The second etalon creates an individual set of parallel light beams from each of the individual beams created by the first etalon with the sets of parallel light beams from the second etalon rotated relative to the line onto which the single set of parallel beams from the first etalon would have fallen.
Chason; Eric H. (Sandia Park, NM), Floro; Jerrold A. (Edgewood, NM), Seager; Carleton H. (Albuquerque, NM), Sinclair; Michael B. (Albuquerque, NM)
Sandia Corporation (Albuquerque, NM)
08/ 756,324
November 25, 1996
GOVERNMENT RIGHTS This invention was made with Government support under Contract DE-AC04-94AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.