We present an implementation of an absolute distance measurement system which uses frequency scanning interferometry (FSI). The technique, referred to as dynamic FSI, uses two frequency scanning lasers, a gas absorption cell and a reference interferometer to determine the unknown optical path length difference (OPD) of one or many measurement interferometers. The gas absorption cell is the length reference for the measurement system and is traceable to international standards through knowledge of the frequencies of its absorption features. The OPD of the measurement interferometers can vary during the measurement and the variation is measured at the sampling rate of the system (2.77 MHz in the system described here). The system is shown to measure distances from 0.2 m to 20 m with a combined relative uncertainty of 0.41 × 10−6 at the two sigma level (k = 2). It will be shown that within a scan the change in OPD of the measurement interferometer can be determined to a resolution of 40 nm.
© 2014 Optical Society of America
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