Taking Optical Interferometry out of the Laboratory through Nonlinear Electro-Optics

Dr. Ken Telschow
Physics Group
Idaho National Laboratory

Adaptive optical interferometry utilizes optically generated self-correction to automatically stabilize operation and reduce dependence on low frequency noise.  A nonlinear electro-optic effect, known as photorefractivity, provides a means for any optical wavefront to generate its conjugate wavefront and undergo complete interference automatically. This effect is being exploited today to perform interferometric measurements in nonlaboratory, industrial and often hostile environments. The physics behind the photorefractive effect is described along with its use for both single collimated beam and full-field imaging of highly distorted wavefronts. Examples are presented of its use for remote measurement of subnanometer acoustic/ultrasonic motion at the surface of materials from Hz to GHz for commercial use and for measurements in high radiation environments.