AIP Digital Archive
Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
We describe a new simple, compact refractometer for air refractive index measurements. It consists of a double plane–plane Fabry Perot interferometer. Both interferometers consisting of Zerodur spacers of thickness of 1 and 100 mm are illuminated independently by the same single mode laser diode. The shorter cavity allows unambiguous identification of the transmission peak of the longer one to which the laser frequency is servo-locked. The refractive index of air is obtained via a heterodyne comparison with a second laser locked to a hyperfine component of the rubidium D2 line. We obtain a resolution of order 10−10 and accuracy of a few times 10−8. The metrological characteristics of the interferometer in vacuum are presented. Initial results for refractive index measurements agree with values calculated using the revised Edlen formulas. We also describe how this refractometer is used to measure variations of the density of air and their correlation with changes of refractive index of air. The density of air is used to make buoyancy corrections when comparing mass standards of different volume. Our preliminary results indicate that the values of air density determined by refractometry agree with those calculated using the Comité International des Poids et Mesures formula, which is based on measurements of temperature, pressure, moisture content, and CO2 concentration. © 1999 American Institute of Physics.
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