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Analysis of Fabry-Perot Interferograms by Means of

Their Fourier Transforms

V. G. Cooper

It is shown that there are advantages in studying the functional behavior of the fourier transforms of
Fabry-Perot interferograms in preference to that of the interferograms themselves. Several experimen-
tal interferograms and their transforms are presented, and a number of contributions to the convoluted
spectra that are identifiable only in the time domain are pointed out. These include such purely instru-
mental broadening influences as mirror defects and the spread in the incident angle of the light, as well
as the lorentzian and gaussian shapes of the spectral lines under study.

1. Introduction convolute of S(v) and E(v). The scattered light is in

turn scanned with a F.P. interferometer, whose trans-
The Fabry-Perot (F.P.) interferometer has been ex- mission profile as a function of frequency is given by
periencing considerable use in the analysis of scattered F(v). One therefore obtains an interferogram Y(v),
light spectra with narrow line profiles, where its high which is the convolute of S(v), E(v), and F(v). In con-
resolving power is very valuable. Concurrently, digital volution notation
recording systems have become available that allow
ready computer analysis of large volumes of spectral Y(V) = S(V)*E(v)*F(v)- (1)
data. As a result, it has become possible to treat F.P. Aside from the conceptual difficulty of the convolution
interferograms by means of their fourier transforms, operation, one finds in general that the distinctive char-
and several excellent discussions of this subject are acteristics of S(v), E(v), and F(v) tend to be suppressed
available.1-4 However, so far the fourier transforms in Y(v). The situation is quite the opposite with the
have been used only for their mathematical conveni- transforms of these functions. First, the relationship of
ence, and the value of examining the behavior of the the respective transforms s(t), e(t), and f(t) to y(t) is
transforms themselves does not seem to have been determined by a simple product
pointed out, even though the fourier transforms of
y(t) = s(t)-e(t)-f(t). (2)
spectral lines are known from Michelson interferometry
to be highly sensitive in determining line shapes and More important, as we propose to show, the distinctive
widths.5' 6 We therefore propose to show, often apply- characteristics of s (t), e (t), and f(t) are more clearly pre-
ing familiar insights of fourier spectroscopy, that the served in y(t) and are fairly readily identified.
behavior of the fourier transforms as functions of time is In Sec. II we deal with the properties of the instru-
usually more illuminating than that of the F.P. inter- mental convolute I(v) = E(v)*F(v) and its transform
ferograms themselves. The reasons for this are as i(t) = e(t) .f(t), by first analyzing the factors that deter-
follows. In a scattering experiment (the type of appli- mine their form and then examining the functional be-
cation which will be considered here) one is interested in havior of i(t) for two experimentally determined profiles
measuring a frequency spectrum S(v). The spectrum is of I(v). In Sec. III we turn our attention to several
excited by a source E(v), which has a finite spectral scattered light interferograms Y(v) and their transforms
width, so that the scattered light spectrum is in fact the y(t). With the help of these specimen curves we shall
show how the spurious influence of i(t) can be removed
so that the functional behavior of s(t), and therefore of
the spectrum S(v), can be studied.
II. Instrumental Broadening Factors
The author was with the Kamerlingh Onnes Laboratorium,
Leiden, The Netherlands, when this work was done; he is now We here consider the instrumental convolute I(v),
at the Department of Theoretical Chemistry, University of Cam- which includes the (laser) exciting source spectrum E(v)
bridge, Cambridge, CB2 lEW, England. and the F.P. function F(v). Mathematically it may
Received 6 July 1970. seem arbitrary to include E(v) with the instrumental

March 1971 / Vol. 10, No. 3 / APPLIED OPTICS 525

broadening factors. In practice, however, one deter- TI
mines the convolute (v) by scanning the exciting line fA(t)= 1-T2 {a(t)+R[S(t
- ) +S(t+ )
with the interferometer. It is neither necessary nor + R 2 [(t-2r) + (t + 2r)] + . . .}
practical to separate the two functions when one's
object is to measure scattered light spectra. Their = R2 Z RINI (t - NT)
separation here for purposes of discussion is purely
formal. 2
1 -TR 2 R t/T 1Na(t - ).
The following factors in the F.P. function F(v) will be = (8)
considered: the Airy transmission function rFA(v)of
the interferometer mirrors, the mirror-defect function The transform fA(t) is nonzero only at discrete times
FD(V), and the scanning aperture or pinhole function t = Nr and may be described as a set of time harmonics.
Fp(v). We therefore write the instrumental function as These harmonics in fact correspond to the falling off in
amplitude of successive double-reflected beams in the
1(v) = E(v)*F(v) = E(v)*FA(v)*FD(v)*Fp(v)- (3) interferometer.
We shall ultimately be concerned with the fourier trans-
form of this expression, which can be expanded in the The Mirror Defect Function F(V)
form For purposes of illustration we shall only consider the
simplified case of spherical departures from flatness.
i(t) = e(t)-f(t) = e(t)-fA(t)-fD(t)-fp(t). (4) These departures are generally measured as a fraction of
Expressions will now be given for each of the functions the wavelength and expressed as X/m. For this
in Eq. (3) and for their respective fourier transforms in simplified case, the mirror defect function is a rec-
Eq. (4). In all the frequency expressions we shall be tangular function of full width 2p/m.A It is conven-
interested strictly in frequency displacements from the tional and convenient to define a flatness or defect
center of each function, and all frequencies v are to be limited finesse EYD= 12r, so that the full width of this
understood as such. rectangular function is expressed as Vfr/5D. The form
of FD(v) is then
Spectrum of the Exciting Source E(v) FD(V) = 1 for - Vfr/ 2 5D < v < Vfr/25D
= 0 for all other v. (9)
The multimodal laser source used in this work pro-
vided a natural-line-width limited (quasi-gaussian) The fourier transform of this rectangular function is
spectrum. Assuming for simplicity that the spectrum
fD(t) sin[lr(vfr/D)tl /[(Vfr/5D)tl. (10)
is indeed gaussian with half-width at half-intensity Av, =

and neglecting normalizing constants, we may write the The Scanning Aperture Function Fp(v)
exciting source spectrum as
The parallel light that is transmitted by the inter-
E(v) = exp(-v ln2/Avp2). (5) ferometer is in typical applications focused onto a pin-
hole which limits the angle of incidence of the light
Its fourier transform is that is collected. It is readily shown that, for collection
e(t) = exp(-r
AvP2 t2/ln2). (6) over an angle 0from the normal, a uniform distribution of
intensity over a full frequency range vo02 is collected,
with v0the true frequency of the light. For convenience
The Airy Function F(v) we define a pinhole finesse 5p, analogous with the defect
Following Steel7 we may write the Airy function for a finesse,so that 2'Vo0
= Vfr/P. The scanning aperture
F.P. interferometer used at normal incidence in the function then has the same form as the mirror defect
form function, i.e.,
FA(v) = [T 2 /( - R 2 )l(1 + 2R cos27rvr Fp(v)= 1 for -vfr/2p < v < Vfr/2 5P
= 0 for all other v. (11)
+ 2R cos47rvr + ***), (7)
The fourier transform of this function is
where T and R are the intensity transmittance and
reflectance of the interferometer mirrors, and is the fp(t) = sin[7r(vfr/5p)tl/[7r(vfr/5p)t. (12)
transit time for each double passage of light between the
mirrors, so that = 2dn/c, with d the distance between Experimental Instrument Profiles (v)
the mirrors, n the index of refraction of the medium Based on the foregoing we shall now analyze the
between the mirrors, and c the velocity of light. This fourier transforms of two measured instrumental profiles
time is in fact the inverse of the familiar spectral free I(V). These were obtained using an interferometer
range of the interferometer vf. The half-width of PU(v) with mirrors of about 95% reflectivity and of flatness
is vfr/2:,A, with the finesse 5 = rR1 /(l - R). The X/100. The output of a multimodal He-Ne laser with
form of the Airy function in Eq. (7), which is equivalent half-width at half-intensity of about 0.25 GHz was
to other more familiar expressions,8 allows us to write scanned, and the transmitted light was focused onto a
down its fourier transform virtually by inspection as screen with angle-limiting pinhole. The experimental

526 APPLIED OPTICS / Vol. 10, No. 3 / March 1971

Table I. Parameters for the Two Instrumental Profiles
Mirror Spectral free Airy function Pinhole
separation range Vfr Airy function half-width Mirror defect angle 0 Pinhole
(cm) (GHz) finesse 5FA (GHz) finesse 5ED (10-s rad) finesse 57p
Case 1 1.0 15 60 0.12 50 1.5 26
Case 2 0.1 150 60 1.2 50 2.0 150

parameters for the two profiles are given in Table I. An examination of the transforms proves more reveal-
The photoelectric signal from the light admitted by the ing. The transform i(t) departs much more strongly
pinhole was sampled as a function of frequency over a from fA(t) in Case 1 than in Case 2. Not only does the
sufficient range to show two interference maxima. The narrower width of i(t) of Case 1 reflect the correspond-
profiles for the two cases are shown in Fig. 1. The ingly greater width of I(v), but it seems to show sig-
center of one peak has been assigned as v = 0 to render nificantly different functional behavior from fA(t) in this
the profiles even functions of frequency. A typical case. The theoretical curves lead us to expect that in
profile actually consists of the intensities sampled at Case 1 e(t) and f(t) are the dominant factors in this
several hundred frequencies per spectral free range, but effect. In Case 2 the theoretical transforms indicate
in Fig. 1 smoothed curves through the data points have that only f(t) introduces significant departures from
been drawn. Integration over one spectral free range is the ideal behavior of fA(t). These assumptions can be
sufficient to determine the fourier transform of I(v), quantitatively checked. First, as regards the role of
which is therefore given by mirror defects and pinhole angle, we note in Eqs. (10)
and (12) that f(t) and f(t) first go through zero at
i(t)= 2r f I(v) cos2irvt dv, respective values of time t = D/Vf = 9iDr and t =
vmi. 5P/vfr = fpTr. Since the transforms have been plotted
where vin is an arbitrary lower limit of integration. with respect to time in units of a, the first intersection of
However, i(t) is nonzero only for t equal to integral i(t) with the time axis gives directly the value of 5D or
multiples of r because of this same property of fA(t)-cf. Sfp, depending on whether FD(V) or Fp(v) is the more
Eq. (8)-so that we need only compute, by numerical dominant broadening influence. In Case 1 i(t) first
integration, becomes negative at 2 4 r (not evident in the figure).

i(Nr) = 2r f VmJn+
Vf I(v) cos2irVNT dv. (14)

In Fig. 1, alongside each experimental profile I(v) its

respective fourier transform i(r) has been plotted. I (V)- case 1
Also shown are the theoretical transforms fA(t), fD(t),
f,(t), and e(t), calculated for the parameters shown in
Table I. In the absence of any broadening influences t f (t)
other than the reflectivity of the mirrors, the profiles
I(v) of Cases 1 and 2 would be identical (ideal Airy i(t) '.. et
functions), and their fourier transforms i(t) would be 0 15 0 20 40
given byfA(t), which is identical in the two cases. This
allows us to assess the relative importance of the other
broadening influences. 0 \'- f ) f (t)
The information that can be obtained from an inspec- I (V)- case 2
tion of the profiles I(v) is minimal. The half-width of
the peaks relative to the spectral free range is clearly
much greater in Case 1 than in Case 2. This is to be fD(tt
expected because the half-width of FA(V), determined by
Vfr/ 53A, is much smaller in Case 1 (see Table I), so that
the 0.25-GHz half-width of E(v), the laser exciting 0 150 0 20 40
source, is of relatively greater importance in this case. frequency (GHz) time(t/i)
Beyond this, however, the importance of this and of the
other factors, FD(v) and F(v), can only be estimated Fig. 1. Left-hand curves: the experimental instrumental pro-
files I(v) for two spectral free ranges vfr. Right-hand curves:
qualitatively. As a consequence one cannot check
the fourier transforms i(t) of the instrumental profiles and the
whether an experimentally determined profile I(v) is theoretical transforms of four broadening influences: fA(t)-
commensurate with the theoretical estimates of FA(V), Airy function transform; fD(t)-mirror-defect function trans-
FD(V),and F,(V)-see Eq. (3)-so that any nonparal- form; fp(t)-pinhole function transform; e(t)-excitation spec-
lelism in the F.P. mirrors, for example, would go unde- trum transform. All functions are even in time and are shown
tected. only for t > 0. The unit of time is = l/fr.

March 1971 / Vol. 10, No. 3 / APPLIED OPTICS 527

0 as was anticipated. When a more quantitative treat-
. case 2 ment is desired, the linear and quadratic coefficients can
be determined, for which even a simple graphical solu-
tion provides good accuracy. However, without
I2 pursuing these details, it is clear that i(t) and its
case 1 - logarithm are quite sensitive for diagnosing the im-
portance of the various instrumental broadening
factors, and that, as was stated in the beginning, each of
-4 these factors does indeed impart a distinct and recog-
nizable character to the resultant transform. As a
final check on our assumptions we note that the product
of the four theoretical transforms gives good agreement
-6 L I 1 with i(t) in both cases.
0 10 20 We have assumed throughout that the profile 1(v) is
time (t/r) an even function of frequency and have shown only the
Fig. 2. The logarithm of i(t) as a function of time. cosine transform. The fourier sine transform of I(v),
which in fact is never truly zero in real situations,
provides yet another diagnostic tool; its magnitude
measures the asymmetry in I(v) that may result, for
This corresponds closely with the calculated value of instance, from the misalignment of optics.
5p of 26, confirming that Flp(v) is indeed the more im-
portant broadening factor. In Case 2 i(t) becomes
negative at 4 5 r. This corresponds very nearly with the I1. Analysis of Spectral Shapes
expected value for ED of 50. Assuming that the mirrors We now extend the analysis to the determination of
conform to the manufacturer's stated flatness of X/100, the spectral shapes S(v) of single line spectra scanned
this finesse of 45 suggests that imperfect parallelism of with a F.P. interferometer. For simplicity we shall
the mirrors has in effect rendered FD(v) somewhat initially be concerned with spectra that can be treated
broader than anticipated. as convolutes of lorentzian and gaussian components.
Still greater sensitivity in identifying the broadening That is,
factors in i(t) is provided by considering the logarithms
S(v) = L(v)*G(v). (20)
of i(t).6 From Eq. (4) we write
The relationship of the respective transforms is of course
lni(t) = lne(t) + nfA(t) + lnfD(t) + nfp(t). (15)
S(t = (t)-g(t). (21)
Proceeding term by term we find first, from Eq. (6),
that The function s(t) will be recognized as the autocorrela-
2 2 2 tion function of the spectrum S(v). If the lorentzian
Ine(t) = -7r Avr t /In2, (16)
L(v) has a half-width at half-intensity of AvL, then its
a quadratic function of time. Considering only the fourier transform is
locus RI/T of f,(t) in Eq. (8) we ave
1(t) = exp(-2rAvLt) (22)
lnR/T = -t ln(1/R)/r, (17)
The transform of the gaussian G(v) with half-width
a straight line of negative slope. The logarithms of AVa is
fD(t) and fp(t) can only be considered in the range where
g(t) = exp(-7r2 Av 2 t2/ln2). (23)
they are positive. The appropriate series expansions for
the sine in Eqs. (10) and (12) and for the logarithm Considerable simplification is provided by again con-
yield, in the limit where t is small, sidering the logarithms of these transforms:
lnfD(t) = -t 2 (7Pvf,/5D)2 /6, (18) lns(t) = lnl(t) + lng(t). (24)

and For lnl(t) we have a linear function of time with slope of

-2rAVL, and for lng(t) a quadratic function of time, so
lnfp(t)= -t 2 (7rf,'/0p)2 /6, (19)
that lns(t) is the sum of linear and quadratic terms.
and this simple quadratic approximation is accurate to The interferograms Y(v) which we shall be studying
within a few percent for values of t up to about half that are convolutes of S(v) and I(v). In the time domain,
for which fD(t) or fp(t) first vanish. From Eq. (15) then, we have
then, we expect ni(t) to be a sum of linear and quad-
lny(t) = ns(t) + ni(t). (25)
ratic terms, the former associated with the ideal Airy
function and the latter associated with the other We have already found that, to a good approximation,
broadening influences. In Fig. 2 the logarithm of i(t) is the factors of ni(t) are amenable to this simple treat-
shown as a function of time for the two cases. Indeed ment as linear and quadratic functions of time, so that
both functions show apparently quadratic departures lny(t) can also be so considered.
from linearity, and these are much more severe in Case 1 The interferograms which we shall treat are shown in

528 APPLIED OPTICS / Vol. 10, No. 3 / March 1971

Fig. 3 (left-hand curves). These interferograms are quite out of the question, and even subtraction of the
taken from a study of depolarized rayleigh scattering in width of I(v) from Y(v) would be impossible because
020 but they might equally wellbe any isolated spectral each has a hybrid shape. The component of stray
line. They were recorded essentially as were the in- light is also unobservable in the interferogram at 2.5
strumental profiles treated above and are shown for the atm.
scattering gas at three pressures. The instrumental pro- One further advantage of transformation lies in the
file I(v) that is appropriate to these interferograms is analysis of broad spectra such as that which occurs at
that of Case 1, which has been considered previously 2.5 atm. Experience shows that significant contribu-
(see Figs. 1 and 2). To indicate the statistical noise level tions to the intensity arise from the overlapping wings
of the interferograms, which were recorded by photon of peaks several spectral free ranges removed. Even
counting, the result of every third counting period has the determination of half-widths from Y(v) then be-
been shown, rather than the smoothed curves. Oppo- comesinaccurate. In the transforms, however, the peri-
site each interferogram ny(t) is plotted up to the odicity of Y(v) appears only in the discrete nature of
twentieth harmonic (solid points). The inherent y(t) and has no effect on the measured slope of lns(t)
noisiness of the interferograms is still in evidence, but from which AvL is determined.
only in the higher harmonics. In the interferogram at Up to this point we have assumed, for the sake of
0.25 atm the harmonics smaller than e- 4 are indis- simplicity, that lni(t) and lns(t) consisted strictly of
tinguishable from spurious noise harmonics. At 2.5 linear and quadratic terms. We know that this is only
atm the noise level in y(t) is about e-6 because of higher an approximation for i(t). In general s(t) will also not
intensity in Y(v). Missing harmonics are either be of such simple form, and even in the present example
smaller than the limits of the graphs (e-8) or negative. it may not be so described with full rigor. The subtrac-
Ignoring the contribution of i(t) to the transforms for tion of lni(t) from lny(t) is of course still correct when we
the moment, we first note the lorentzian character of the drop the simplifying assumption. It is only the inter-
scattered light spectra, indicated by the approximately pretation of (t) that becomes more complicated. One
linear dependence of the logarithms of y(t). Some may, in this situation, see the fitting of linear and
systematic departures from linearity are also apparent. quadratic terms (and perhaps higher terms when ac-
Our interest lies not with y(t), however, but with the curacy permits) as a merely formal device for monitor-
spectral autocorrelation function s(t). It can in prin- ing the width and shape of the spectrum S(v). We may
ciple be determined from y(t) and i(t). Rewriting Eq. also recall that s(t) is the autocorrelation function of
(25), S(v); because many theoretical models readily provide
the autocorrelation function of a spectrum, one can test
lns(t) = ny(t) - ni(t). (26) the model with greater sensitivity by comparing s(t) to
The values of lns(t) thus found are also shown in Fig. 3 the calculated autocorrelation function than by com-
(open circles) up to about the tenth harmonic, which is paring Y(v) to a theoretical spectrum.
the limit set by noise. The slopes of lns(t) are more U.I
negative for higher pressures, indicating that S(v) Lny~)Ln s(t)
broadens with increasing pressure. The locus of lns(t) Y (V)-0.25 atm
at 0.25 atm still shows a quadratic contribution, even
after the subtraction of lni(t) with its quadratic term.
At 1.1 atm, lns(t) is almost perfectly linear. At 2.5 ~~~~~. . . .1

atm, however, an upturning of lns(t) is to be seen. The . .

spectra S(v) associated with the functions s(t), which we 0
have determined here, are quite typical of the phe-
Ln s(t)
nomenon whereby a spectral line changes with increas- Y(V)-l.l atm
ing pressure from a gaussian shape to a lorentzian shape Ln y(t)'.
and where the lorentzian width itself increases with the
pressure.'"-' 3 The spectrum at 0.25 atm is in fact in
the transition region of this phenomenon and, to the
accuracy of s(t), can indeed be treated as the convolute
of lorentzian and gaussian parts, as we have confirmed. . . *~~~~~.
. l
-. . I
Clearly at 1.1 atm the gaussian character has effectively
* (V) 5 atm .-
disappeared. The upturning in lns(t) at 2.5 atm is s(t)
evidence of a weak spectral component of narrow width .. *-. -~~~~~~
4 n y(t) ..
superimposedupon (but not convoluted with) the broad
lorentzian spectrum. This was identified as unbroad- ......... e- - _

ened stray light whose presence became more noticeable

, . ,

0 15 0 10 20
at higher pressure, as the genuine scattered spectrum frequency (GHz) time (t/c)
became broader. Fig. 3. Left-hand curves: the interferograms Y(v) of light scat-
We could surely not have drawn the above conclu- tered from a gas, obtained at three pressures. Right-hand curves:
sions from an inspection of Y(v) and I(v). Comments the logarithms of their fourier transforms y(t) and of the net
on the lorentzian or gaussian shapes would have been spectral transforms s(t).

March 1971 / Vol. 10, No. 3 / APPLIED OPTICS 529

It should be noted that not enough harmonics are suggestions during the writing of this paper. Special
preserved in s(t) above the noise to permit a retrans- thanks are due the Centraal Rekeninstituut of the
formation and hence a reconstruction of S(v). The University of Leiden and its staff for the computing
information in the higher harmonics, if not in fact services provided.
already provided by the first few harmonics, may be This work was undertaken while the author held a
expected to determine that part of the character of S(v) fellowship from the Scientific Affairs Division of the
which is neither lorentzian nor gaussian. We cannot North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Brussels) and the
expect to retrieve these minutiae of information, how- Minna-James-Heineman Foundation (Hannover).
ever, after they have been obscured by noise.
The fitting of ns(t) to a sum of linear and quadratic
terms is in essence equivalent to a least-squares decon- References
volution technique of Larson and Andrew4 for treating
interferograms of an arbitrary number of spectral 1. E. A. Ballik, Appl. Opt. 5, 170 (1966).
2. G. Hernandez, Appl. Opt. 5, 1745 (1966).
components. We emphasize, however, that for those
3. G. T. Best, Appl. Opt. 6, 287 (1967).
cases where single lines are studied (increasingly com- 4. P. Larson and K. L. Andrew, Appl. Opt. 6, 1701 (1967).
mon with the availability of good narrow-band inter- 5. J. Terrien, in Intererometry, NPL Symposium No. 11 (HMSO,
ference filters), our experience shows that the display of London, 1960), p. 435.
the transforms as functions of time provides the ex- 6. A. H. Cook, Monthly Notices Roy. Astron. Soc. 139, 141
perimenter with an invaluable command of the data, an (1968).
appreciation of its quality and reliability and a unique 7. W. H. Steel, Interferometry (Cambridge U.P., Cambridge,
grasp of the subtle influences that govern the spectral England, 1967), pp. 109-123.
shapes. S. M. Born and E. Wolf, Principles of Optics (Macmillan, Lon-
The F.P. interferograms used as examples for trans- don, 1964), pp. 323-333.
9. R. Chabbal, Rev. Opt. 37, 49 (1958).
formation were measured in a number of light scattering
10. R. A. J. Keijser, F. Baas, V. G. Cooper, R. M. Jonkman, and
experiments carried out by R. A. J. Keijser and F. Baas H. F. P. Knaap, Z. Naturforsch. in press (1970).
of the Kamerlingh Onnes Laboratory. The author is 11. V. G. Cooper, A. D. May, E. H. Hara, and H. F. P. Knaap,
indebted to them for their fine work. Further thanks Can. J. Phys. 46, 2019 (1968).
are owed to Mr. Keijser for very ably analyzing the 12. J. R. Murray and A. Javan, J. Mol. Spectrosc. 29,502 (1969).
fourier transforms of very many interferograms. The 13. V. G. Cooper, A. D. May, and B. K. Gupta, Can. J. Phys. 48,
author is indebted to H. F. P. Knaap for his many helpful 725 (1970).

\ .. A

Besancon Holography Symposium participants include, in the

front row from the left A. Piekara Warsaw, ICO General
Secretary J. Vi6not Besangon, and R. Mercier Lausanne.

530 APPLIED OPTICS / Vol. 10, No. 3 / March 1971