A geometric approach to the alignment of sensor arrays in optical instruments

Posted on 2018-01-30 - 16:24
Alignment of sensor arrays in optical instruments is critical to maximize the instrument's performance. While many commercial systems use standardized mounting threads for alignment, custom systems require specialized equipment and alignment procedures. These alignment procedures can be time-consuming, dependent on operator experience, and have low repeatability. Furthermore, each alignment solution must be considered on a case-by-case basis, leading to additional time and resource cost. Here I present a method to align a sensor array using geometric analysis. By imaging a grid pattern of dots, I show that it is possible to calculate the misalignment for a sensor in five degrees of freedom simultaneously. I first test the approach by simulating different cases of misalignment using Zemax before applying the method to experimentally acquired data of sensor misalignment for an echelle spectrograph. The results show that the algorithm effectively quantifies misalignment in five degrees of freedom for an imaging system, accurate to within ± 0.871 deg in rotation and ± 0.857 μm in translation. Furthermore, the results suggest that the method can also be applied to non-imaging systems with a small penalty to precision. This general approach can potentially improve the alignment of sensor arrays in custom instruments by offering an accurate, quantitative approach to calculating misalignment in five degrees of freedom simultaneously.


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