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Virtual experiments

Working group 8.42


In a virtual experiment a measurement process is modeled mathematically and simulated on a computer. The employed mathematical model of the physical experiment is sought to be as realistic as possible. Virtual experiments allow different scenarios to be easily explored. In this way, measurement processes can be designed and specified with the help of the computer. Virtual experiments can be used to estimate the accuracy that is reached by a real measurement device. Dominant sources of uncertainty can be identified and quantitatively explored by carrying out a sensitivity analysis of the virtual experiment. The results obtained can be used to optimize the considered measurement system. Virtual experiments can help in the development of procedures from data analysis for real experiments, for example to assess and compare different estimation procedures under realistic conditions, or to validate assumptions made about the distribution of measured data.

Simulation of a tilted-wave interferometer (left) and a virtual 3D-measurement of an optical surface (right) using SimOptDevice.


The research of PTB’s Working Group 8.42 focuses on virtual experiments for optical measurement devices and the development of procedures from data analysis for evaluating corresponding measurements. To this end, the simulation environment SimOptDevice has been developed as a software library, which is successfully employed in many applications regarding length-/form- and coordinate measurements, as well as photometry. SimOptDevice is regularly maintained and its functionality improved. It is currently applied to the tilted-wave interferometer, which is suitable for the optical form measurement of aspheres and freeforms. Methods of data analysis in conjunction with virtual experiments are developed and applied to solve the involved inverse problem and to calibrate the measurement process. Other research topics include the evaluation of uncertainties associated with real measurements utilizing the results of the corresponding virtual experiment, or the use of methods from deep learning in connection with virtual experiments. For example, virtual experiments can be used to create a database needed to train a neural network that is designed for analyzing experimental data.


Publication single view


Title: Exact wave-front reconstruction from two lateral shearing interferograms
Author(s): C. Elster;I. Weingärtner
Journal: Journal of the Optical Society of America A
Year: 1999
Volume: 16
Issue: 9
Pages: 2281
Optical Society of America
DOI: 10.1364/JOSAA.16.002281
ISSN: 1084-7529
Web URL: http://www.osapublishing.org/viewmedia.cfm?uri=josaa-16-9-2281&seq=0&html=true
Keywords: Interferometry,Optical inspection,Paraxial wave optics,Phase measurement
Tags: 8.42,Form
Abstract: A new method is presented for the reconstruction of a one-dimensional wave front on the basis of difference measurements from two shearing interferograms. The proposed algorithm reconstructs any wave front exactly up to an arbitrary constant. The method is not restricted to small shears. However, the shearing parameters have to be chosen such that certain constraints are satisfied. A procedure for determining such shearing parameters is given. In addition, it is shown that the procedure is stable with respect to noise introduced into the differences.

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